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SEATTLE — The evening before the official kick off of the Cardinal Health 2013 Retail Business Conference, DSN took an opportunity to sit with Mike Kaufmann, CEO Cardinal Health Pharmaceutical Segment, to discuss what RBC is all about — Cardinal Health’s commitment to the independent operator.
DSN: Cardinal Health serves a host of customers from chain pharmacy to hospital systems. But the independent pharmacy owner has always been a key focus for Cardinal Health. Can you talk to us about the importance of the independent operator to Cardinal Health?
MIKE KAUFMANN: Our retail independent customers are very important providers of patient care in their communities. When we serve an independent pharmacy, we have a chance to serve an entrepreneur, an owner, who cares about their local community and provides the critical healthcare services it needs. As a partner to these business owners we provide services that help them run their pharmacies more efficiently, help them manage reimbursements and help them attract new patients. In a sense we are the business support behind their businesses. This is a partnership we take very seriously given their essential role in their communities.
DSN: Conferences can be a lot of work and a big commitment in time and resources, and the 2013 RBC is on record as the biggest in the history of the event, both in terms of total square footage and the total number of vendors in attendance. Why does RBC still remain an important event for Cardinal Health and why does Cardinal Health continue to support this venue?
KAUFMANN: We think keeping retail independents alive and thriving is critical to the U.S. healthcare system. We have been hosting RBC for 23 years because it allows us to showcase not only the best-in-class offerings we have for retail independents but also so that our pharmacy customers can get together and learn from the best —each other. At RBC we share best practices and provide continuing education. But often it’s the informal networking that generates the sharing of ideas and results in stronger retail independents.
We also feature our supplier partners on the exhibit floor. Our customers appreciate being able to see all the suppliers in one place and interact and learn from them as well. We know that we couldn’t do this show without supplier support and partnership and we thank them for their participation.
This year we again have thousands of attendees at RBC and it is truly energizing to see all these people in support of retail independent pharmacy in one place.
DSN: Promoting women in pharmacy has long been a strategic priority for Cardinal Health. Why are women pharmacy owners important to Cardinal Health, and how does Cardinal Health support women in pharmacy at RBC?
KAUFMANN: Women make up about 60% of the graduates from pharmacy schools and make 80% of the healthcare decisions for their families. With numbers like these, helping women advance their potential is not only the right thing to do but the smart thing to do.
We launched our Women in Pharmacy initiative three years ago to connect successful female pharmacy owners with young women pharmacists who are interested in running their own pharmacy. We create forums for pharmacists and potential owners to learn from each other and understand best practices. Every year at RBC, we host a day-long Boot Camp where female pharmacy students participate in sessions on pharmacy ownership, get tips of the trade and learn financial basics.
Given how critical retail independents are to their communities we want to ensure new pharmacy graduates consider ownership an option for their careers. We want to help them access the knowledge they need to open up a pharmacy and experience the rewards of business ownership.
To keep up with all the news from Cardinal Health RBC 2013, visit DrugStoreNews.com/Cardinal-Health-Retail-Business-Conference-2013.
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