Extra! Extra! Read all about it—online!

Rob Eder

As this issue went to press, it sure had been a busy week here at Drug Store News. And that means it was a busy week for the industry, too.

“The drumbeat in support of an expanded universally recognized role for pharmacists in helping patients successfully manage their drug therapy is getting steadily louder.” That’s how DSN senior editor Jim “Jimmy No-S” Frederick described a recent article in the Journal of the American Medical Association, for the Oct. 15 edition of our daily e-newsletter, DSN A.M. “The latest note of support comes from the chief voice of the nation’s physician community. JAMA points to community pharmacists as a key resource to help bridge the gap between doctor and patient, particularly for patients treated by more than one specialist in an often disconnected and dysfunctional healthcare network,” he wrote.

Jim covered the story for the Oct. 18 edition of the Weekly Drug Fix, an e-newsletter that examines the top stories in retail pharmacy in greater depth.

The day before the JAMA news broke, a panel of healthcare advocates and thought leaders concluded the recent change in the tax code that no longer recognizes OTC medicines as eligible for reimbursement under flexible spending accounts is bad for consumers, and bad for health reform.

“According to the Foundation [for HealthSmart Consumers] researchers, the resulting costs could reach $2.5 billion annually if office visits and lab tests are incurred by even 10% of the insured population; potential new pharmacy costs could reach $3 billion annually,” senior editor Michael “Tiny 10” Johnsen reported in the DSN A.M. Oct. 14.

That same day, DrugStoreNews.com picked up the news that Walmart executives hinted to a crowd of investors that New York could be next as the company explores more opportunities for urban expansion; that Wegmans was looking to open its first store in Massachusetts; and that Supervalu’s Cub Foods stores had introduced a new diet management program for customers with gluten allergies, among other news. That day alone, we updated the website 26 times—that’s more or less average for a typical day.

That day’s updates also included two “Scene On Shelf” features: the first sighting of Tylenol’s new external analgesic brand, Precise, on Walmart shelves (see OTC page 32), and a new endcap in Target stores promoting award-winning beauty brands (see page 6). Scene on Shelf is an online photo feature we added about a year ago to highlight the innovative things that retailers and brand marketers were doing to sell more product: innovative merchandising initiatives, in-store marketing executions and other cool promotions. We pick one or two to run in each issue, but to see them all, you need to go to DrugStoreNews.com.

The week before, at CVS Caremark’s annual analyst day, the company pulled the wraps off of several important front-end initiatives for 2011, including a brand-new, private-label concept. If you’re signed up to receive Drug Store News Breaking News alerts, then you were among the thousands of our readers who learned this important news before anyone else.

The point is: if you’re waiting for a magazine that comes out monthly or biweekly to tell you about something that happened two weeks or a month ago, how do you expect to survive in this business? Drug Store News believes that a magazine needs to be more than just a regurgitation of yesterday’s headlines. You’ve probably noticed some changes in the magazine in recent months. You can expect more changes in the months ahead—big changes.

For more details—and the meaning behind Jim and Mike’s nicknames—stay tuned.

To register, go to DrugStoreNews.com/newsletters.aspx, or just e-mail me at reder@lf.com.

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