“In Quebec, you have to be a pharmacist to own a pharmacy and with the introduction of the proposed Bill 41, pharmacists will be allowed to be more involved with a patient’s health,” Martinovitch explains. “Distribution [of prescriptions] is part of the job, but the pharmacist is also responsible for monitoring the adherence, safety and effectiveness of a drug therapy, and therefore, supporting the patient.” 

Brunet distinguishes itself by being proactive in providing additional support to meet its patients’ needs. “The patient is the core of our business,” Martinovitch adds. “We are really focused on ensuring that our patients have quick and easy access to a pharmacist and that their overall in-store experience is the best. Distributing medication is only one piece of the equation.” 

Brunet has implemented three programs that focus mainly on its patients’ needs and adhere to the company’s values, namely passion for the profession and an on-going concern for its patients’ well-being. “What really matters is our patients’ health,” Martinovitch says.

Total Health Management

“The company created MaSanté, which is an online tool that connects patients to their healthcare and prescription information,” Director of Professional Services Emmanuelle Laflamme says. “The website tool is where patients can view the information the pharmacist has in his or her computer with regards to prescriptions – when the prescription was filled, the number of refills remaining and more. This helps improve the flow of the pharmacy and reduce wait times.” 

Along with prescription information, patients can submit refill requests, set up reminder alerts to take their medications, track their blood sugar, blood pressure or weight. The site allows patients to condense their information in one location so they can take control of their health. 

“This is a tool we launched in 2011,” Laflamme adds. “We were the first to launch this type of online service in Quebec.”

The website is user-friendly and the company’s membership data shows age is not deterring any of its customers because a number of elderly patients are connected and using MaSanté. The tool is confidential and Laflamme compared its safety to using any online banking system. “We do understand this is sensitive information and we make sure it is not disclosed to anyone but the owner,” she explains. 

MaSanté is unique in that it also serves as a preventive measure in healthcare. “It is not just about prescriptions and managing medications, it is about taking care of your health,” Martinovitch adds. Additional tools will be added for those without chronic diseases to monitor their health.

Designing the Future

“Brunet’s business model is centered on its patients’ needs and two years ago the company realized its stores’ design also needed to be revamped to represent that mentality,” Director of Retail Operations Denis Roy says. “Not only did we look at cosmetics, but we also looked at our structure, size and how we could make it better suited to our patients. It is very important that we take care of our patients not only in the traditional sense of filling a prescription, but by taking care of them as a friend, family member or someone close to us. Our focus needs to be in the details.” 

The company is calling this new concept the “Pharmacy of the Future.” The lab was the first place Brunet examined for ways to make it more efficient and easy to use. “The space was concentrated in order to reduce the number of footsteps the pharmacists and technicians have to take to serve a patient,” Roy says. “The decrease in steps produces faster order fulfillment, enabling the pharmacist to spend more time advising a patient.” 

After the lab, Brunet looked into its waiting areas. The plastic chairs now available will be replaced with more comfortable, wider chairs with the ability to hang canes or walkers for seniors. iPads will be available in each pharmacy to allow patients to research their disease, sickness or prescription while they wait and ask the pharmacist any questions. 

“Nowadays, when a patient experiences a symptom or discomfort, they often go online to evaluate their condition first and then visit a doctor for a medical diagnosis and maybe a prescription,” Roy explains. “After having their prescription filled at their local pharmacy, many patients will once again consult the Internet in order to validate the doctor’s diagnosis. Knowing that the information on the net is not always up-to-date or of trusted sources, we decided to install iPads to provide our patients with accurate information on their condition that is suitable to them.”

Renovations are underway at Brunet locations. Approximately 25 locations are being remodeled each year. “We have spent many months thinking of ways to enhance our patients’ care and experience within our pharmacies,” Roy says. 

Health at your Fingertips

MaSanté not only offers patients the ability to track their health and prescriptions online, but Brunet has also recently launched a mobile app, health information access on its website and connections through social media. “The focus of our Internet and digital platform is to make the Brunet brand accessible to patients in the most convenient way,” Director of Marketing Victoria Cruz says. “Our health never sleeps, so in addition to the traditional strategy that everyone has, we are investing heavily in a digital strategy.” 

At, patients can access a wealth of health information including everyday health, chronic diseases, health goals, tools and travel health. All the information is presented in an accessible way, allowing us to dialogue with patients. “We want to make it the health reference on the web within Quebec,” Cruz says. “We have 200 different health advice topics and we will continue to add to that information in 2014.” 

Brunet is using social media as a platform to highlight topics relevant to patients’ lives, to interact with them and direct them to the closest pharmacist to answer any health-related questions. The Brunet mobile app was launched the first week of January and allows patients to access the company’s flyers, products, weekly advice and health encyclopedia. “This emulates the information we have on our website and is accessible to find information you need in a nutshell, wherever you are and any time of the day,” Cruz explains.