Q&A: Greg Wasson discusses his recent investment in Innovation
In November, high-volume pharmacy automation technology and software company Innovation signed an agreement with a consortium of investors led by Greg Wasson, president and co-founder of Wasson Enterprise, to acquire a majority stake in the company. Drug Store News spoke with Wasson about the recent developments and his vision for Innovation’s future growth.
Drug Store News: Why did the consortium believe that this was a good time to invest in Innovation?
Greg Wasson: It starts with the healthcare industry at large. There is a huge need in our country to improve access to high quality and affordable health care. Pharmacists are one of the most successful and accessible healthcare providers, and advanced automation and technology can help free pharmacists up to spend more time with patients on medication compliance and additional services. There are two things that we found during our diligence over the past year. It’s pretty clear that the pharmacy industry at large is in the late innings of acknowledging that automation and the fulfillment process, and other areas of the dispensing process, is an opportunity, but they are in the early innings of adoption of centralization and automation. There is a real market acknowledgement and desire to begin to look at ways to reduce costs and to free pharmacists up through automation.
The second thing we found during a year of diligence in looking at different companies is that Innovation is absolutely viewed as the market leader. They design, manufacture and integrate pharmacy automation technology with many of the pharmacy providers across all sectors. They have a comprehensive software solution for high volume workflow management. There are industry tailwinds as pharmacy providers begin to look for automation for centralization of prescription fulfillment. Now is the time.
Drug Store News: You’ve said that the consortium and Innovation share a vision for the future of pharmacy. What would you say that vision is, and what role does automation like Innovation’s play in it?
GW: Certainly, freeing pharmacists up to be able to spend more time with patients by potentially removing 40% to 50% of the prescriptions that are filled either in a hospital pharmacy, a retail pharmacy, a pharmacy benefit or mail service facility, and allowing for pharmacists to spend more time with patients. What pharmacists have done for years is to help people stay compliant to their medications. There is data that shows that lack of compliance on medication can cost the healthcare system $200 billion to $500 billion. Freeing pharmacists to spend more time with patients, to help those who are on chronic medications to stay compliant, can really help the healthcare system at large.
Drug Store News: What are your initial goals after the transaction is completed?
GW: Innovation has a great team. It is a family-founded company. They are viewed as the leaders in technology and automation. They come from a manufacturing background, so they are an R&D team. The advanced robotics that they have, which can dispense hundreds of thousands of prescriptions in an eight hour shift is industry leading. When we come together, we can bring our consortium’s strategic operational and financial resources to help accelerate the expansion and the offering to pharmacy providers at large, as well as continue to invest in R&D, so they continue to be the leaders in automation and technology. We are beginning to see the industry look at more centralization of high- volume prescription environments so they can leverage scale. The resources we will be able to bring will help accelerate and continue to invest to remain the leader in automation.