Meet our President and Chief Operating Officer

We sat down with Neil Owens to learn a bit more about him.

Neil Owens, Ph.D. has worked with Medicure since 2014. He was worked in various positions in Medical Affairs of escalating responsibility, and later as Director of Scientific Affairs. Dr. Owens currently is the President and COO of Medicure. He is responsible for implementing Medicure's strategic plans and overseeing day-to-day operations including the advancement and management of new and existing pharmaceutical products.


What is your current role at Medicure? What do you do?

I am the president and chief operating officer, I am responsible for implementing strategic plans and overseeing day-to-day operations. I try to create an atmosphere of collaboration, performance and efficiency. Overall I help to implement the vision of the company, try to put the right people in the right positions, and help the company succeed.


How do you stay motivated and inspired in your role?

Small wins keep me motivated, especially when I see staff succeed and hear positive feedback from customers and physicians. I appreciate the ability to implement new ideas quickly and being able to experiment with new ideas. Building a motivated and successful team is very rewarding, and the idea of removing self-imposed limits on what is possible – why not us?


What are your current goals, both professionally and personally?

I would like Medicure to reach a new all time high in revenue and profitability. I think Medicure has the potential to surpass $100 million in revenue and to develop innovative new therapies. Those are the high level goals. I also want to create as strong a team as possible, and maintain that as the company grows, which is challenging. I also want to keep being a 'disruptor' in the industry where possible and experiment with new ideas. In my personal life I feel settled and am happy to see my kids grow and learn.


What are you most proud of in your career to date?

I am very proud of how Medicure has transitioned over time to return to profitability and deal with the challenges it has. I am proud that the company has a strong ethical backbone that relies on clinical data in its sales process and that we are now one of the leading pharmacies in the US for providing access to medications. I am still proud of what we achieved with AGGRASTAT and my conversations with interventional cardiologists, who are tough and very data driven.


Prior to Medicure you worked in academic, why did you choose to leave academia?

I enjoyed my time in academic research and basic research at the interface of chemistry and biology. But what I was really interested in was the business of science, and how scientific ideas can be refined and commercialized. We were doing some pretty innovative research, but I don't miss the lab chemicals.


What are you most excited about for Medicure?

I don't think Medicure has actually hit its stride yet in terms of revenue growth, but I think our work and ideas will soon translate into substantial growth – as that happens that will be very exciting.


Which of Medicure's core values mean the most to you?

We have six core values: People, Innovation, Profitability, Diversity, Integrity and Community. Of these I think Innovation means the most to me, although they all resonate for me. Innovation is a very powerful concept and essentially relates to identifying a problem and creating a solution. I enjoy the process of discovery and so being the 'first' to create a solution is very rewarding, especially the more obvious it seems in retrospect.


How do you see healthcare changing over the next 5 years?

I don't see it changing very much in 5 years. Healthcare as a whole is a very complex web, based on routine. It changes slowly. Infection control took decades to develop. The process of using your insurance to pay for your medications is far too complicated. I do hope our approach to exposing problems with this process leads to change. My other hope is that patient care becomes centric and not just throughput. Telehealth and changes to primary care are also good signs that accessibility leads to ease of care and thus prevention rather than treatment.


How has your perception of remote work changed over the last few years?

Definitely changed a lot. From what was really not allowed to what is commonplace. I do have some concerns as to the impact on new employees and building a sense of team. Also the separation of work and home is underrated at the moment. I do see staff wanting to return to an office in the future, but only gradually and with a lot of flexibility if the work allows it.


What did you want to be when you grew up?

I wasn't too passionate about any one career option – I thought I might be a police officer at one point. I also like to work outdoors. Both seemed challenging long term. Once I was in university I really was impressed by my organic chemistry class, which most people hate. I stuck with it and kept enjoying my classes, labwork, summer research projects and then doctoral and postdoctoral work. Research let me travel a lot and meet great people, and led me back home.