Taking a fresh look at US pharmacy: Kermit Crawford


A hugely important development in the pharmacy sector over the past year was the announcement of the partnership between Alliance Boots and Walgreens, which will create the first global pharmacy-led health and wellbeing enterprise. In order for EPF members to learn more about Walgreens and its experiences, Kermit Crawford (President of Pharmacy, Health and Wellness at Walgreens) will lead delegates at the first EPF Seminar of 2013 on a valuable voyage of discovery around a typical Walgreens Pharmacy and will demonstrate to European pharmacists what they can learn from the Walgreens experience. The partnership also affords an excellent opportunity to introduce some of the differences and similarities between US and European pharmacies.


The most striking difference between the US and Europe is the sheer size and scope of the American sector: as of 2010, there were nearly 275,000 pharmacist roles in the country – compared with 400,000 in the 47 countries that make up Europe; and the industry is growing rapidly. Whereas the average growth rate for all occupations, up to 2020, is nearly 15%, the growth rate for pharmacists is 25%, or nearly 70,000 places. Another clear distinction is the difference in healthcare models between Europe and the US; for example between a British-style NHS state healthcare system and the for-profit, insurancebased US model and how this affects pharmacies.


Only 23% of pharmacists work in hospitals, while the remainder includes 43% who work in pharmacies and drug stores, 8% in grocery stores, 6% in department stores and 5% in other general merchandise stores. Drug stores in the US sell a wider range of goods than their European counterparts, with the front of the store given over to general retail sales – much more like a convenience store. Also, generally speaking, only prescription medicines are kept behind the counter.
Kermit will explore more deeply the American pharmacy system, learn about key differences with the European system, discuss how US pharmacies are competing as the healthcare environment changes and explore future opportunities in the sector. Kermit's background is closely intertwined with the US pharmacy sector and he has been with Walgreens for 30 years, taking up his present post at the company in September 2010. A qualified pharmacist with longstanding and deep sector experience, Kermit received his Bachelor of Science degree in Pharmacy from Texas Southern University's Pharmacy School in Houston, and first started his career at Walgreens in 1983 as a pharmacy intern.
Kermit's appearance in Paris is the first time that Kermit will share his wealth of experience with the EPF and attendees will also have the opportunity to put forward their questions to him on the subject of Walgreens Pharmacy.
(Figures: Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2010 & PJ Online)
More information about Kermit Crawford can be found on the Walgreen Co Website