Rexall tests new healthy living store concept in West Kelowna

The future of pharmacy service in Canada is about to be illustrated in West Kelowna.

The opening on Saturday of the new Rexall Healthy Living Store, located at 2241 Louie Dr. in Westbank, reflects the changing philosophy of the pharmacy and health care concept for the Rexall drug store chain.

Andy Giancamilli, chief executive officer of Rexall Canada, said the pharmacy of the future concept started with a research project undertaken by the company four years ago.

“The questions we asked ourselves were what would a patient coming to our pharmacy in the future require, and how can we become more involved as part of the health care team for our customers,” Giancamilli said.

That research returned two interesting facts for the Rexall group. One was that a pharmacist is usually the grassroots health care provider that most patients see, regardless of the severity of their condition.

“It is the true entry level for health care in this country,” Giancamilli said. “So from that we felt we needed to provide more than just product, whether it be pills or a vial of medication over the counter. The pharmacy of the future will become more and more involved in providing more health care services than simply handing out product.”

He cited Ontario and B.C. passing provincial legislation that allows pharmacists to replace existing drug orders, rather than always needing a slip from the doctor, as one dicator of that.

Another key finding of Rexall’s research was the importance of helping people stay healthy rather than just treating illnesses as they occur.

So, Rexall’s seven existing healthy living store pilot projects, he said, offer such features as measuring the age of your lungs, smoking cessation clinics and computer-based tests for skin care.

As well, he said one of the main reasons for hospital emergency room visits is failure to maintain medication prescription—letting it lapse or not keeping up with their scheduled application.

He said the Rexall Reminder Ready system can remind their customers to take their medication, or get prescriptions refilled without having to call ahead.

So far, of the seven health living stores set up across Canada, two of them are in the Central Okanagan—in Rutland on Highway 33 and now in West Kelowna.

“It will be interesting to see how the stores perform over time,” he said.

“We believe strongly in the (Central Okanagan) market. With the demographics, there are a lot of seniors, people who leave active healthy lifestyles and people as well who want are concerned about maintaining a healthy life standard.”

He said there is an intense competitiveness with other pharmacy service outlets in the Central Okanagan, but he feels the healthy living philosophy sets Rexall apart from the rest.

The other more noticeable feature Rexall has championed is the drive-thru pharmacy pickup window.

“It may not be for everyone, but for a mother with a two and four year old, the ability to pick up a prescription without having to pack the kids in and out of the car can be a blessing.”


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