Life Sciences

Q&A with Dr. Ellen Yankellow, President and CEO of Correct Rx

After a long career as a top executive in the pharmacy services industry, Dr. Ellen H. Yankellow started Correct Rx, one of the top institutional pharmacy service providers. She is regarded as one of the leading women pharmacists in the country and an expert on institutional and geriatric pharmacy. Correct Rx is based on a business model of innovative clinical programs that offer better medical outcomes and result in lower overall healthcare costs.

Dr. Yankellow’s career success is equally matched by her commitment to community activism and philanthropy. She serves on the boards of numerous nonprofit organizations including the Maryland Board of Pharmacy, the University Of Maryland School Of Pharmacy’s Board of Visitors, the University of Maryland Baltimore Foundation, Inc., Maryland Chamber of Commerce, Baltimore City Foundation and The Carter Center, just to name a few.

Deservingly so, Dr. Yankellow has received a plethora of awards for her work including the Bowl of Hygeia Award, one of the most widely recognized international symbols for pharmacy and the profession’s most prestigious honor.

Dr. Ellen Yankellow sat down with MDBizNews to talk about her clinical pharmacy experience, Correct Rx’s work, and the future of the pharmaceutical field.

Correct Rx President & CEO, Dr. Ellen Yankellow
Correct Rx President & CEO, Dr. Ellen Yankellow. Photo courtesy of John Dean.

How has the field changed since you started in 1973?
Rather than strictly filling prescriptions and selling pills, many of today’s pharmacists practice clinical pharmacy and collaborate with the medical team to manage a patient’s health. They are actually healthcare partners, working with other medical professionals to achieve the optimal use of medication. Their goal is to ensure the best possible health outcome and the most cost-effective treatment.

In fact, this approach often lowers the overall healthcare costs. For example, a clinical pharmacist will recognize when a less expensive medication will work as well as or better than an expensive one or when an alternative treatment altogether will be equally or more effective.

How do we balance affordability of prescriptions with business success when it comes to pharmaceuticals?
Pharmacists play an important role in helping patients manage the rising cost of prescriptions. I have built my business on incorporating the pharmacist’s drug knowledge during the medication selection process for patients and throughout the course of therapy.

Correct Rx’s focus is not just on the patients, but the entire healthcare team. Consider the vast array of new drugs that benefit our society. Drug information is important to ensuring that these medications are used effectively and safely. This process ensures the selection of the most cost-effective medication. The prescriber may not be aware of all the drug options available or the specific nuances and differences associated with each agent, like drug interactions, food interactions and side effects. In some cases, this process can reduce the prescription burden for patients.

Additionally, pharmacists can help patients and the healthcare team use medications appropriately, monitoring for therapeutic effect, and looking out for adverse outcomes. This model avoids the billions we spend each year on treating patients because of unintended effects. This is the future of the pharmacy profession and is rooted in real and measureable evidence.

Why is your pharmacist just as important as your doctor?
Pharmacists are uniquely qualified to provide the medication expertise necessary to improve therapeutic outcomes, improve quality of care, and reduce healthcare costs. The pharmacy profession is committed to continuous, life-long learning about safe and effective medications.

Consider that medications are the most common therapeutic modality in healthcare today for chronic conditions. Having a medication expert, dedicated to drug knowledge and the possible pharmacological options available for treatment, can be a powerful tool for safe, efficacious, and cost-effective medication therapy.

Correct Rx Techs
Members of the Correct Rx team. Photo courtesy of John Dean.

How can Correct Rx benefit Marylanders?
As a woman-owned and operated full service institutional pharmacy, Correct Rx is a proud Maryland company who serves patients all across the country in correctional and juvenile facilities, residential treatment programs, and senior care facilities. Correct Rx is the current provider for the Maryland Department of Public Safety and Correctional Services, the Maryland Department of Juvenile Services, 15 Maryland county facilities along with Chimes, Gallagher House and The Neighborhoods at St. Elizabeth. Our corporate culture is based on caring and accuracy as we focus on providing the same level of care we would provide our own family members.

Healthcare is a major industry in Maryland. Our company provides economic development and growth to all parts of Maryland. We were founded by three Maryland residents who are all graduates from the University Of Maryland School Of Pharmacy. Correct Rx has created a substantial business which is providing employment to more than 170 residents who live and work in the state.

Correct Rx is also a company that is committed to being good corporate citizens. Philanthropy is an integral part of our mission. We have donated significant amounts of our revenue and our time to organizations such as the American Heart Association and the Alzheimer’s Association, the Girl Scouts of Central Maryland, Catholic Charities, United Way of Central Maryland, Maryland Chamber of Commerce, Baltimore Symphony Orchestra, Special Olympics of Maryland, Cristo Rey, Sister’s Academy, Youth Works, and countless other local organizations that work to improve the quality of life and health for citizens of the State of Maryland.

What does the future hold for Correct Rx?
I plan to continue my advocacy for the pharmacy profession as an indispensable part of the healthcare model. Correct Rx will maintain a laser focus on providing clinical pharmacy services and medications to the institutional pharmacy arena. We are expanding our senior care division and I see this as a real opportunity to impact patient care in skilled, assisted living and transitional step down units.

In addition, Correct Rx understands that these same clinical pharmacy services translate well into the private sector. With the cost of healthcare rising and the aging work force, there is a natural opportunity to introduce our clinical programs to Maryland businesses. It is my goal to have Correct Rx identified as the premiere provider of clinical pharmacy services in Maryland and throughout the country.

Learn more about Dr. Yankellow and the entire Correct Rx team at correctrxpharmacy.com.

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Emily Witty

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