10/25/2013 - 1:59pm

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 - 1:51pm

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 - 2:23pm

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 - 1:26pm

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 - 1:21pm

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 - 2:36pm

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 - 1:54pm

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.

10/11/2013 - 1:50pm

By November, Walgreens will have completed fine-tuning its management structure for maximum effectiveness in realizing its three-pronged strategy. That strategy includes improving the front-end experience through retail theater. It includes establishing the pharmacist as the go-to source for healthcare, not just for the patient but for the payer, too. And it includes creating an unrivaled global economy of scale.

Now with all of the pieces in place, Walgreens has shown it has both a knack for creating the optimal retail health experience and identifying the corporate talent who possess a proven track record of transforming good ideas into better realities.

10/04/2013 - 1:52pm

Walgreens reached a 19.1% prescription market share for its fiscal year ended Aug. 31. But that wasn't the story to come out of the Chicagoland retailer's conference call. The story was how far along Walgreens has come in its pledge to transform pharmacy.

Truth is, there isn't one aspect of the pharmacy business that hasn't been touched by Walgreens' focus on transformation. And with the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act yet to come in 2014, Walgreens is far from done. See for yourself: click on DSN's Walgreens news feed — all Walgreens news, all the time — and you have one story after another about how Walgreens is helping to redefine what retail pharmacy means to employers, payers and most importantly, the patient, almost on a daily basis.