New Kinney Drugs President shares plan to expand community-driven pharmacy in rural areas

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GOUVERNEUR, N.Y. (WWTI) — At the end of September, Kinney Drugs named its newest president.

The Northern New York-based pharmacy chain Kinney Drugs elected John M. Marraffa as its new President in late September. Marraffa graduated from Albany College of Pharmacy in 2003. He started his career focusing on long-term care, and later transitioned toward community-driven pharmacy.

Since then, Marraffa has held leadership roles at Walgreens in the Northeast and then Kinney Drugs after joining KPH Healthcare Services in 2019 as Vice President of Government Affairs & Healthcare Services Integration.

Now as the President of the Drugstore Division, he plans to expand the definition of pharmacy, focusing more on community-driven initiatives in rural areas. He spoke more to these ideas in an exclusive interview with ABC50’s Isabella Colello.

“Oftentimes in certain communities, the pharmacist is the only ‘healthcare provider’ that a patient has access to,” Marraffa noted. “My vision for Kinney Drugs is to create a health care destination that’s unmatched by anybody around us.”

However, Marrafa said this will not be a “cookie-cutter” approach as Kinney Drugs covers both rural and urban communities in Northern and Central New York, as well as Vermont. He said he will primarily aim to address the variety of needs in these regions.

“When you think about our ‘Kinney Country,’ we have a variety of needs. In certain areas, we are the only healthcare provider in town, and in other areas, there are saturations of hospitals, etc. And so we kind of compliment them when other areas we serve are filled,” he said.

He added how the ongoing coronavirus pandemic motivates him, even more, to contribute and grow the impact of local pharmacies. Especially, he said, after watching pharmacy “step up to the plate” during pandemic months through COVID-19 testing efforts, providing PPE and now the vaccine rollout.

“The pandemic really allowed pharmacy to stand out,” Marraffa stated. “We were one of the only approved businesses to remain open during the heart of the pandemic, allowing pharmacists to showcase their talent as a frontline worker. Looking at the fact that they had the ability to interact with so many lives when the world was essentially shut down.”

“Because this is just the foundation of what we’ve been able to do, and we’ve been talking about this for years. Pharmacists and pharmacy teams have been saying, we could do more. We can do more,” he added.

To bring these expansions to life, Marrafa now wants to focus more on the patient-pharmacist relationship, allowing pharmacists to “grow to a new potential.”

“A patient visits a pharmacy a lot more these days than they have the ability to visit their primary physician. Patients are very honest with their pharmacist and they have the ability to kind of interact,” Marraffa shared. “My main vision right now is to create a level of service and experience that nobody else can match. Really focused on, you know, taking care of our patients and our customers, and then attracting the most talented group of individuals.”

John M. Marraffa began his role as Kinney Drugs Drugstore Division President on September 30, 2021.

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