SKOKIE, Ill. — Topco, a member-owned cooperative serving the food industry, recently kicked off an initiative substituting its TopCare-branded over-the-counter medicines for the equivalent prescription pharmaceutical, where appropriate, in an effort to save patient dollars and promote the TopCare brand.
"We have developed a number of marketing tools to educate the pharmacists, retail employees and other member teams," Curt Maki, Topco VP health and beauty care/general merchandise program management and pharmacy, told Drug Store News. "We also have developed tools directly targeting consumers through various tactics and messaging, and will be working with our member stores to help them inform their customers on the program."
Specifically, where generic versions of recently switched medicines like Prilosec OTC are available without a prescription, participating supermarket pharmacists are able to substitute the equivalent TopCare product, omeprazole in this case, in place of a prescription heartburn remedy like Nexium. Depending on the prescription drug insurance plan, the co-pay for an OTC equivalent could total less than the co-pay associated with a generic prescription, Maki said. In other cases, the actual retail price of the TopCare brand could also be less than the generic prescription co-pay. "This program works very much like a generic prescription substitution," Maki said. "But instead the pharmacist switches the drug with a TopCare OTC product, and it is adjudicated through the pharmacy and health plan, accordingly."
Topco's health and beauty care program specializes in procuring health, beauty and personal care products under the TopCare brand, which represent $300 million in annual retail sales. Participating grocers include Giant Eagle, Harris Teeter, Hy-Vee, Meijer, Wegmans, Weis and Winn Dixie.