A Prescription for Success

Dispensing assistance to others is second nature to Mark Zilner, PAH’91. A third-generation pharmacist, Zilner discovered his passion for the profession when his parents founded Diamond Pharmacy, a corner drugstore, in 1970.


“What sold me on this career was watching my pharmacist parents and grandmother—the people I admired most—help customers each day,” he says.


They also sparked Zilner’s entrepreneurial bent. Today, as Chief Operating Officer and co-owner of Diamond Pharmacy Services, InnovaScript, RemedyRepack, and Sapphire HER, he helms what’s become a 200,000 square foot state-of-the-art outfit: It is Pennsylvania’s largest independently owned long-term care pharmacy and the nation’s largest correctional facility pharmacy provider.


Zilner had always aspired to join the family business, and he credits Northeastern’s School of Pharmacy for honing his skills and knowledge. A co-op at InstaCare Pharmacy helped him develop experience in customer service, management, and finding a competitive advantage.


“Co-op allowed me to see a larger aspect of a long-term care pharmacy,” says Zilner. “InstaCare was servicing 100 nursing homes, and I thought, ‘Boy, if my parents’ pharmacy could only grow to that scale, that’d be my goal in life.’”


Now, with nearly one thousand employees, Diamond Pharmacy serves 13,000 residents in 300 long-term care facilities. What’s more, a bid to provide correctional pharmacy services in the 1980s has blossomed into a mainstay business, delivering care to one third of the nation’s inmate population in 2,000 facilities across 47 states. Thriving retail mail order, Electronic Health Record software, FDA repackaging, wholesaling, and medical supply ventures are also furthering the company’s toehold in the niche market.


“Pharmacy is becoming more clinical, and being an entrepreneur is difficult,” says Zilner, who also serves as Vice Chair of the Pennsylvania State Board of Pharmacy. “Young professionals must be innovative, diverse and nimble to spot opportunities for staying ahead of the curve.”


Date: 04 22, 2015 | Category: Alumni Newsletter April 2015, Pharmacy Practice News, School News |