Pharmacy U

Leaders in Pharmacy: Darcy Stann – Pharmacy at the tipping point

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Darcy Stann is the principal consultant with the Firebird Management Consulting Group, which offers strategic planning, government relations, sales management and more to pharmacy companies, organizations and associations. Specialty medications are an area of expertise, including high-cost biologics.

 

Education: University of Saskatchewan (Pharmacy) University of Calgary (MBA)

Current role: President, Firebird Management Consulting Group (FMCG) Limited, Calgary

 

Darcy Stann is the principal consultant with the Firebird Management Consulting Group, which offers strategic planning, government relations, sales management and more to pharmacy companies, organizations and associations. Specialty medications are an area of expertise, including high-cost biologics.

 

Why did you choose the profession of pharmacy?

I am very pragmatic by nature. I grew up in a small community in north central Saskatchewan. I was good in math and sciences, and I was absolutely not going to be an engineer. The most well-known and affluent person in my community was the pharmacist. Business was also in my blood. So I had two career choices. I applied to business and pharmacy. I tried business school for a week. Once T Accounts came up, I opted for pharmacy.

 

Why did you start Firebird Management Consulting?

Although I was drawn to corporate pharmacy, there were changes starting around 2011 that did not appeal to me, so I retired. I opened Firebird the day after. The changes I saw were the fracturing of the business side of pharmacy and that advocacy groups were losing ground. In the wake of changes to generic drug reimbursement, many pharmacists forgot how to manage in difficult times. Firebird is here to help companies in whichever area they need assistance.

 

What do you think the future holds for pharmacy?

I’m not your average pharmacist. I think pharmacy needs to grow up and realize if it doesn’t provide value to the healthcare system as a profession, it will be relegated to dispensing. There’s nothing wrong with that, but there is a much bigger world out there.

 

Is pharmacy demonstrating its value to the health system?

We need to tie results to the service we offer. For example, some U.S. hospitals are charged back some of the money they earn when a patient is readmitted within 30 days. Many of those hospitals are now hiring pharmacists to mitigate the risk. I’m trying to start a test project to see if that approach would work here. Even if we show results, we are not guaranteed to get funding. The health system works in silos and that is a problem.

 

What more needs to be done?

We broke new ground 10 years ago with legislation that expanded the scope of practice. In the last five years, governments have decreased remuneration in many provinces. We’ve been in a holding pattern ever since. If we create a crisis, there will be change. If we create an economic crisis, the change may not be what anyone wants. We need to find the right mix. The challenge is that patients are not likely to be willing to pay enough to make substantive change sustainable. We are going to get to a point where the economics of pharmacy will dictate what will be done if services are splintered. That’s not good for the profession. There is also an internal challenge. We need to motivate individuals. I believe that can happen, but as a natural pessimist, I believe that this will be a major challenge for the future.

Leaders in Pharmacy, including this independently written article, is supported by Pfizer Canada Inc.