11/01/2013 - 2:38pm

A recent survey, dubbed the “Retail Buying Experience,” by Experticity has revealed an expertise gap among sales associates at retail. The survey also found that consumers value expertise above all else, but 2-out-of-5 consumers said they are routinely disappointed by the lack of expertise they encounter in the stores.

The survey findings really point to one word: personalization. Like the survey says, consumers want help with their buying decisions, and they want the retailers to be an active player in their shopping experience. They want retail sales associates who have product knowledge, can help in selecting the right products, have category knowledge and can assist in finding alternatives when the first choice is not available. They want personalization.

10/25/2013 - 3:32pm

CVS/pharmacy’s SVP and chief marketing officer Rob Price was recently featured on Yahoo! Finance’s Big Data Download to talk about the launch of its new myWeekly Ad, which is a digital circular powered by its ExtraCare loyalty program.

This is important as it demonstrates that CVS/pharmacy continues to get major attention for the new program, and it further illustrates the push — major push — that the retailer is making on personalization.

10/25/2013 - 2:59pm

The Food and Drug Administration plans to officially recommend that products containing 15 mg or less of the opioid painkiller hydrocodone be rescheduled as Schedule II controlled substances, from the current Schedule III classification. While the idea is to combat abuse and misuse of the drugs, pharmacy groups say the rescheduling would make them harder to obtain for patients who legitimately need them.

The desire to combat abuse and misuse of prescription drugs — now a worse problem in the United States than cocaine or heroin — is laudable, but unlike those two drugs, hydrocodone has a legitimate use as a painkiller, and it's the people who are using it properly and legally who will end up losing.

10/25/2013 - 2:51pm

With is proposed acquisition of German wholesaler Celesio, McKesson creates a global distribution enterprise on the scale of Walgreens, Alliance Boots and AmerisourceBergen before them. In addition to wholesaling, Celesio operates about 2,200 pharmacies across six countries and is the No. 2 operator in the United Kingdom.

Retail pharmacy and drug sourcing both are more and more becoming a global business. Just last week, the head of the second-biggest drug chain in Brazil announced he would be open to a buyout. So expect more of these headlines in the months to come.

10/18/2013 - 3:23pm

One of the casualties associated with the recent government shutdown and game of chicken that legislators played with the nation's debt ceiling is consumer confidence. And this will have significant ramifications coming into the fourth quarter holiday season, especially as the debate over government spending and the debt ceiling crisis has not been resolved but only delayed until January.

Holding the holiday season hostage means Washington has lost big points with big retail, and IRI measured the impact. Reminiscent of recession shopping behaviors, almost two-in-three consumers are cutting back on non-essential spending; half are again gravitating toward private label or other value propositions and two in five are beginning to scour online resources in search of coupons and deals.

10/18/2013 - 2:26pm

Chattem recently announced that the Food and Drug Administration approved Nasacort Allergy 24HR nasal spray (triamcinolone intranasal) as an over-the-counter treatment for seasonal and year-round nasal allergies. And that means by spring 2014, there will be another allergy powerhouse alongside Allegra, Claritin and Zyrtec.

10/18/2013 - 2:21pm

CVS/pharmacy has officially taken the lid off of its new myWeekly Ad digitized circular program, which is powered by the retailer’s robust ExtraCare loyalty program.

Aside from being pretty darn cool technology, the new myWeekly Ad is a crystal clear example of CVS Caremark’s laser sharp focus on personalization.

10/11/2013 - 3:36pm

It's been the week of the dollar store. Dollar General opened store No. 11,000 last week, and Family Dollar continues to reinvent its brand relevance with the consumer as the company posted monster gains for its fiscal fourth quarter and the year, driven by store experimentation, remodels and the introduction 1,000 SKUs, including many health and beauty items.

10/11/2013 - 2:54pm

A new law in Maine will allow the importation of drugs from abroad through mail-order from some pharmacies, formalizing a practice that has existed in many parts of the country for several years, and marking the first time a state government has, by law, gone against Food and Drug Administration regulations that bar importation of drugs.

Bloomberg columnist Megan McArdle said Maine was "going rogue" on drug importation, and that pretty much sums it up. The state, which has long had a close relationship with Canada — its governor, Paul LePage, is of French-Canadian descent and spoke Quebecois French as his first language — is openly defying federal law. And because federal law ultimately trumps state law, it's likely the federal government will crack down at some point.