Eyeing collaboration with industry disruptors

David Orgel
Principal, David Orgel Consulting

Community pharmacy faces a range of disruptive entrants, including those on the digital side that focus on direct-to-consumer medication fulfillment. Yet, rather than eyeing disruptors only as competitors, the industry should look for ways to collaborate, according to speakers at the Enabling Patient-Facing Care panel during the Drug Store News Industry Issues Summit in New York City in December.

“There is no shortage of potential disruptors or new entrants into the marketplace,” said Chris Dimos, panel moderator, who is president of retail solutions at McKesson.

Panelist Nimesh Jhaveri, president of Health Mart and senior vice president at McKesson, said a common trait of disruptors is that they don’t start with a plan already in place. “They’re not starting with a legacy platform or experience,” he said. “They’re basically starting with a white piece of paper and saying, ‘How should we do it?”’

Disruptors aim to create something that’s truly differentiated, he said. 

“And they don’t care about what’s already in the marketplace. Their job is to actually create something new. And so my take on this is that we need to, as an industry, lean in and potentially partner with these folks and help them understand what’s working and what’s not working. That way we can co-create something that’s different for the marketplace.”

Panelist Rina Shah, group vice president of specialty and retail pharmacy operations at Walgreens, said the industry has an important role to play in working with disruptors to navigate the future.

“Pharmacy is ripe for disruption. I think disruption is going to be really good for patients, pharmacies and the broader healthcare industry, but it is ultimately partnerships that will drive the most impactful changes,” Shah said. “We are experts in understanding how to take care of our patients. We are experts in pharmacy and health care. Other companies have expertise in complementary areas, and this makes the value of partnerships incredible. So instead of fighting it, we should be inviting industry leaders to the table and saying, ‘What can we do together to really solve the issues that we see in front of us?’”

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