Employee Voices

“I Want to Help Fight Cancer”

Ferial Scott’s childhood best friend inspired her career path as a specialty pharmacist at Biologics by McKesson.

Read time: 3.5 minutes

Ferial Scott has learned the hard way not to take her blessings for granted.

Her parents were refugees. When they fled the Middle East for the U.S., she was just four years old. When she was seven, her grandfather — the man she called her best friend — also escaped their war-torn homeland to join her family in North Carolina. Shortly after he arrived, though, he was diagnosed with terminal bone cancer. Three months later, he passed away.

“That’s the moment I told myself, ‘I want to help fight cancer,’” she says. “And since then, it’s been my dream to be in the oncology space and help people like my grandfather have better outcomes.”

As she got older, she considered careers as a physician and as a pharmacist, but her experiences in college and in the workforce soon made her path clear.

“The pharmacist is key in bridging the doctor-patient relationship to help patients feel confident and safe taking their medication so they can live their healthiest life,” she says. “I worked at a chemistry lab earlier in my career, so being knowledgeable about drug development, regulatory affairs and medical information helped me paint a clearer picture for my patients around medication and disease state education.”

It was through an oncology rotation during her doctoral studies that Ferial first heard about Biologics by McKesson, McKesson’s independent specialty pharmacy dedicated to cancer and rare disease patients.  

“Biologics was fully on my radar when I graduated, but I didn't see any job opportunities available at that time,” she explains. “So for nine years, I worked at a large retail chain pharmacy — but I kept my eye on Biologics that entire time.”

Ferial Scott and her Grandfather

Ferial with her grandfather

One day in 2015, the moment she’d been waiting years for finally arrived — an oncology pharmacist position opened up at Biologics. And the rest, as they say, is history.

Today, Ferial works at Biologics as a clinical oncology pharmacy manager. It’s a role that fuels her passion for helping patients by counseling them on their cancer therapies, which are typically very costly and are rarely available in most brick-and-mortar pharmacies.

She provides detailed, one-on-one counseling and follow-up, which helps patients take their medications compliantly and manage side effects to help keep them on their therapy as long as medically necessary for better health outcomes. And, she explains that one of Biologics’ areas of expertise is helping people find access to financial assistance to alleviate the financial burden of expensive oncology medications.

“Patients cry over the phone or thank us endlessly for making this part of their journey easier,” she says. “Being able to take care of people and make a positive change in their lives — to help make them feel happy, even if for a brief moment – is something that I will always cherish and be thankful for.”

In such an intense environment, where every interaction can be both personally rewarding and emotionally draining, Ferial also appreciates her Biologics colleagues.

“On the phone, you're positive, and then afterward, you're saying prayers for people because you get so invested in them,” she says. “Being able to work alongside pharmacists and pharmacy technicians who understand and share the same healthcare passion and always put the patient first – it makes me love what I do every single day. We have to be very serious and focused, but at the same time we try to ease situations and make it a fun work environment. We have each other’s backs.”

Ferial’s approach to working with patients is perhaps best summed up by her favorite quote from the poet Maya Angelou: “People will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.”

“The whole purpose of life is to be there for people and help them feel confident in their therapy and reassured that they're not on this journey alone,” she says. “It’s the sole reason many people become pharmacists – we love helping patients throughout their healthcare journeys.”

Ferial has certainly fulfilled her dream of helping patients fight cancer. It’s a fitting tribute to her grandfather, the man who inspired her career choice so many years ago.

“My grandfather was everybody’s favorite person,” she says. “He was the kindest and most generous person I have ever known. To do work in his honor is something that I am proud of and live for every day.”