McKesson highlights growth of Health Mart franchise at annual IdeaShare meeting

Upgraded marketing services, mobile app for pharmacy-patient interactions and enhanced medication-adherence resources will benefit member pharmacies

No dramatic changes in McKesson’s current relationship with partner independent pharmacies—the Health Mart branding arrangement—were announced at this year’s IdeaShare meeting (Las Vegas, June 26-30), but McKesson announced some enhancements to its existing partnership. (McKesson has set up Health Mart to be an easy-in, easy-out franchise-like arrangement; some 3,100 independent pharmacies have now signed up to be in the program.)

New services include enhanced marketing support from McKesson in the form of a marketing “hub” that replaces its Marketing Tool Kit, more flexibility in how matching marketing funds can be allocated, and local marketing coordinators to help pharmacists execute their marketing plans. The Marketing Tool Kit has included templates for newspaper, radio and TV advertising and social media tools, among others.

The mobile app—just being previewed at the meeting—will allow pharmacists to provide closer communication to their customers, including refill requests, reminders and in-store promotions. And the medication adherence support includes more comprehensive information on medication therapy management, behavioral coaching and related services that position individual pharmacies well with the performance-based programs of healthcare providers.

"With the changing dynamics in the industry, it's important that community pharmacy look for ways to build scale and be a part of a recognized brand. By coming together under Health Mart, member pharmacies are collectively elevating the profile of community pharmacy across the nation,” said Steve Courtman, president, Health Mart, at the meeting.

Each of the Big Three wholesalers maintain active support programs for their networks of independent pharmacies: AmerisourceBergen has the Good Neighbor Pharmacy franchise; and Cardinal supports both independent pharmacies and owns the Medicine Shoppe franchise. All of them (as well as other wholesalers) compete to win more market share from the independent pharmacy channel, which represented (according to IMS Health data) 16% of the retail pharmaceutical market in 2012.