As pharmacies express their valid concerns over the prospective McKesson/Rexall merger, Jim Danahy, the managing principal and CEO of consultancy firm CustomerLAB says that healthy competition is beneficial to accelerate the move toward primary healthcare.
“Healthy competition—no pun intended—is beneficial to accelerate the move toward better primary care,” Danahy says. “We have [thousands] of places already built with people ready to work in them—we just need to harness different processes and tools and to work differently.”
Danahy adds that Canada needs the deep pockets and the know-how of these two large companies, and now McKesson has the possibility of company-owned stores as labs in which to refine their primary care.
Ben Shenouda, an independent pharmacist in Brampton, and spokesperson for the Independent Association of Pharmacists of Ontario, takes a different position.
“It is true that competition is healthy, but which competition?” he says. “If your supplier is your competitor, how can you see this as a good thing. He will dictate the availability of the products as well as the cost price of the products.”
Shenouda continues: “Also, he can cut exclusive deals with end payers (insurance companies) based on lower cost prices and exclusivity of the products.”
With this acquisition, McKesson, a U.S.-based services company, could become the largest player in the Canadian retail pharmacy market—both supplying and selling drugs at retail.