Meet our Expert: Ram Arumugam Discusses the Benefits of Outpatient Retail Pharmacy

Learn more about the untapped benefits and potential within health system pharmacy.

By: McKesson Health Systems Editorial Team

Read time: 4 minutes

Ram Arumugam Headshot


Ram Arumugam leads Strategic Marketing’s value-added solutions for health systems customers nationwide. He brings over 20 years of experience as a pharmacist, leading strategic growth for health systems in both retail and specialty pharmacy operations.


Q: What are some of the untapped benefits of integrated retail pharmacy for health systems? How can an integrated retail pharmacy improve the financial performance?

A: Hospitals with robust, fully integrated retail outpatient pharmacy services are better able to take on more labor-intensive clinical functions, and this can also contribute to improved patient outcomes and higher patient satisfaction scores. Following a patient’s hospitalization, integrated pharmacy services provide a critical component in simplifying medication regimens and improving medication adherence post-discharge.

There are various paths to fully maximize opportunities for patients and hospitals. For health systems, integrated retail pharmacies can help optimize their eligibility of Disproportionate Share Hospital (DSH) and 340B-eligible prescriptions. As the final interface on the continuum of care, integrated retail pharmacies directly contribute to reductions in 30-day readmissions, improved patient adherence, higher patient satisfaction and quality scores, and better population health management— all of which lead to higher performance.

Q: What are the benefits of partnering with an end-to-end retail solution?

A: For health systems with a retail pharmacy, or for those looking to open one, McKesson’s Payer Solutions for Health Systems is strategically positioned to support health systems through access and expertise, optimizing retail and outpatient pharmacy operations through financial success, clinical performance, improving continuity of care, recognizing better cash flow, and resource management. They can help:

  • Find options for market entry regardless of market consolidation and M&A by non-health system owned chain pharmacies and mail-order specialty pharmacies.
  • Expand existing pharmacy operations to propel your retail setting to a wider range of pharmacy services offerings from meds-to-beds to high-touch specialty services, embracing the digital transformation in healthcare.
  • Provide access to a distinctively tailored Atlas Specialty that meets your unique managed care needs, providing exclusive access to MCK’s specialty-focused PSAO. This allows health systems to dispense through their in-house specialty pharmacy instead of through PBM-owned specialty pharmacies.

Q: Where do you see the future of integrated retail pharmacy heading?

A: Given the high cost of healthcare for patients, labor shortages affecting robust clinical care, and the expanded role of pharmacist and pharmacy technicians in supporting the wellness journey of patients—the important role played by integrated retail pharmacies is clear. Undoubtedly, the COVID-19 pandemic spearheaded the path for ambulatory care facilities to function as a focal point of patient care delivery, ranging from primary and ancillary clinical services to addressing financial toxicity and healthcare disparities for patients. Accessible almost daily without appointments, a pharmacy should be strategically placed in the roadmap for health system expansion as a value-generating center. There is a paradigm shift in how pharmacists practice pharmacy considering the changing landscapes of provider status and prescribing authority1. Add to this list, the growing opportunities in biosimilars, gene and cell therapy, and even prescription digital therapeutics, financial metrics that impacts their payer reimbursement, opaque revenue cycles, 340B compliance, specialty strategies, hospital-at-home and more2.

Learn how partnering with McKesson can help your health system achieve more.

1 DiPiro, J. et al. (2021). ASHP Foundation Pharmacy Forecast 2021: Strategic Planning Advice for Pharmacy Departments in Hospitals and Health Systems. American Journal of Health-System Pharmacy, Volume 78, Issue 6, 15 March 2021, Pages 472–497, Retrieved from:
2 Twenter, P. (2022). The future hospital pharmacist. Becker’s Hospital Review. Retrieved from: