October 17, 2014
Canadian pharmacy retailers are up in arms in British Columbia, threatening to take legal action against the College of Pharmacists of BC if the group attempts to block tobacco sales in their stores. It's a juxtaposition between advocating for health in all parts of the pharmacy and being responsible to the shareholders of the company. 
 
To sell or not to sell? That has become the question in both Canada and the United States. 
October 10, 2014

Kicking off American Pharmacists Month this year on Oct. 2 was the second annual #Pharmacist tweet-a-thon. Highlighting the important role pharmacists have in patient care, their communities and the broader healthcare landscape, more than 11,000 tweets with the hashtag #Pharmacist were sent during the 24-hour period — some 467 an hour, according to healthcare social media watcher Symplur. 

October 3, 2014

Two iconic health brands were brought together last week with the partnership between WebMD Health and Walgreens. The deal couples the online go-to source for healthcare information with one of the retail pharmacy leaders in advancing the scope of practice across the back bench. The deal also underscores the industry trend toward making healthcare coaching readily available at the pharmacy counter by combining WebMD's digital engagement tools with on-hand assistance from Walgreens' pharmacists and nurse practitioners.

 

September 19, 2014
Revising year-end guidance on account of reimbursement rate headwinds, Rite Aid's stock took a hit after reporting second-quarter earnings even though the company beat analysts' consensus estimates for the quarter. The retail pharmacy operation recorded second-quarter profit of $127.8 million, or 13 cents per share, more than doubling FactSet consensus analyst estimate of 6 cents a share, according to a MarketWatch report. And while revenue of $6.5 billion was in line with analyst expectations, Rite Aid topped expected same-store sales growth of 3.3% by recording 4.1% in same-store sales growth. 
 
Rite Aid is still on the right track. 
September 12, 2014

Walgreens recently became one of the first retailers to enable Apple's new Apple Pay system, keeping the retail pharmacy giant on the cutting edge of mobile and omnichannel shopping. 

Walgreens isn't alone, of course, http://www.drugstorenews.com/article/target-app-integrate-new-apple-pay " target="_blank">Target also will enable Apple's new payment system. “We know mobile is becoming the front door to Target, and we’re focused on creating the best possible mobile experiences for our guests,” said Jason Goldberger, SVP of Target.com and mobile, in the company’s “A Bullseye View” newsletter. “We’re thrilled to support Apple Pay to streamline how our guests pay in the Target app — this absolutely makes purchasing from Target’s mobile app easier than ever.”
 
It's a smart play, especially with all of the recent hacking incidents at retail — Apple Pay serves as an encrypted payment service that doesn't reveal such identifiers as name and credit card number as part of the transaction. Apple Pay, and other similar services no doubt, will evolve into the latest facet of omnichannel shopping. Not only will tomorrow's mobile shopper get what she wants, where she wants it and when she wants it, but also how she wants to pay for it. 
 
But it's a smart play for other reasons, too. Apple Pay stands a strong chance of defining the mobile payment space. There aren't too many companies that garner the kind of media attention that Apple does for a new product announcement (USA Today promised its app users live updates from California). But it's with good reason, people interested in news about Apple products tend to be higher-income consumers who actively embrace the new features with each upgraded iPhone. 
September 5, 2014

Social media outlets. Consumers. Wall Street. Government officials. Everyone was buzzing over CVS Caremark’s news on Wednesday that it has changed its corporate name to CVS Health and stopped selling tobacco in all of its stores.

August 22, 2014

Feeling under the weather and need an over-the-counter medication delivered to your door or diapers for the little one? Call Uber.

August 14, 2014

First with its iPod, and then with its iPhone and iPad, Apple has successfully introduced the kind of disruptive innovation that has helped redefine whole industries.

August 8, 2014

Walgreens pulled the trigger on step two of its proposed Alliance Boots merger a full six months early.

 

August 1, 2014

Dollar Tree and Family Dollar last week announced an $8.5 billion merger that, when completed, will create the largest dollar store operator in the United States.

July 26, 2014

Kermit Crawford, Walgreens president of Pharmacy, Health and Wellness, has decided to retire after 31 years with the company

 

July 18, 2014

Industry consolidation continues as CVS Caremark has entered an agreement to snap up regional player Navarro Discount Pharmacy — a move that makes sense for CVS Caremark on several fronts.

Not only does the acquisition strengthen CVS Caremark’s position in the Hispanic marketplace, the fastest growing demographic in the United States, but the deal also includes Navarro Health Services, a specialty pharmacy serving those with complex diseases.

July 11, 2014

CVS/pharmacy replaced single-ingredient pseudoephedrine products with the tamper-resistant PSE product, Zephrex-D, in all of its West Virginia stores, as well as stores in nearby states that are located within 15 miles of West Virginia's border, including Kentucky, Maryland, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Virginia.

 

With the move, West Virginia has become a de facto test market for the diversion-defiant PSE formulation, because along with CVS/pharmacy, Rite Aid and Fruth and soon Walgreens will all be selling similar formulations. The move sends a stern message to West Virginian methamphetamine makers to the tune of Tom Petty's "Don't come around here no more."

July 3, 2014
There were two big deals in the nutrition space this week: Kroger bought one of the most successful VMS e-commerce sites in Vitacost.com, and Hormel bought a dominant nutritional/supplement brand in Muscle Milk. 
 
With Vitacost.com, Kroger will offer customers the convenience to order online and ship to their door with an expanded assortment online. Vitacost.com fields about 45,000 SKUs, and there's a roughly 10,000 SKU overlap when Kroger's mix is factored in.

 

June 27, 2014

Just two months after Labeed Diab was named head of health and wellness at Walmart, Mark Phillips was elevated to the role of VP pharmaceutical merchandising. Phillips assumes command of more than 4,175 retail pharmacy operations that generates $16.8 billion in pharmacy revenue, according to DSN's PoweRx 50. In his new role, Phillips will lead the pharmaceutical merchandising team and report to Diab. Phillips, who most recently served as the senior director of merchandising in small formats, is a long-time buyer for Walmart and may be an indication of Walmart's steadfast commitment to growing pharmacy, health and wellness, especially across Walmart's smaller formats.

June 23, 2014

There has been a lot of good news generating out of Rite Aid headquarters in Camp Hill, Pa., in the past week. Not the least of which was the 2.7% lift in first-quarter sales and the 3.1% gain in same-store sales for the period. Rite Aid delivered its seventh consecutive quarter of profitability, noted John Standley, Rite Aid chairman and CEO, during a conference call with analysts last week. And Motley Fool’s consumer goods analyst Sean O’Reilly raved about Rite Aid's Health Alliance program, what he described as the company's "ace up its sleeve." O'Reilly noted that the Health Alliance program is designed to drive traffic into Rite Aid's stores through doctor recommendations in the markets where Health Alliance is active. But there's a deeper dive here, because Rite Aid is driving the right customers into its stores — customers with poly-chronic or chronic conditions that represent more frequent trips and bigger market baskets. What's more, Rite Aid's Health Alliance program aims to make those acquired patients more sticky by coordinating a comprehensive care program that will help those patients reach their health goals.

June 13, 2014

As reported by DSN’s sister publication Retailing Today, Walmart has opened in Copperas Cove, Texas, its first owned healthcare clinic.

Labeed Diab, Walmart’s president of health and wellness, explained during a briefing in advance of its shareholder meeting that the new clinic is a way for the big-box retailer to provide convenient and almost free (i.e., $4 for employees) access to health care. And, because the retailer avoids the expense of having its associates visit other doctors, it can pass the savings along to customers with a reduced price of $40.

June 6, 2014

Sam’s Club recently announced a credit card cash back program that gives members the opportunity to earn up to $5,000 annually. Marking one of the biggest changes in membership in more than a decade, the club operator in one fell swoop boosted its appeal to loyal Sam's Club members and close the gap between Sam's Club and its chief rival, Costco. The news comes off of a first-quarter performance that Sam's Club president and CEO Rosalind Brewer characterized as “one of our more difficult quarters.” While the club operator was negatively impacted by weather and a reduction in public assistance, Costco emerged under the same conditions with a positive same-store sales comp figure.

May 30, 2014

CVS Caremark has officially taken the wraps off of its new Specialty Connect prescription services program and announced that the program is now available at all CVS/pharmacy locations.

The importance of this new program is two-fold. First of all, it serves as yet one more example of how the company is leveraging its unique assets to improve outcomes. By leveraging its network of 7,600 pharmacy locations and its specialty pharmacy resources, the company is able to offer specialty patients greater flexibility and choice. This, in turn, equates to improved medication adherence.

May 16, 2014

In light of the demand for more accessible and affordable healthcare services as a result of the Affordable Care Act, the primary care provider shortage and an aging Baby Boomer population, the vital role that retail-based health clinics can play in helping patients live healthier lives is hard to deny.

The spotlight on the 1,600-plus convenient care clinics located throughout the country continues to shine even brighter. In fact, just this past week alone, a string of significant clinic news made headlines.

May 9, 2014

Bayer agreed to acquire the consumer care business of U.S. pharmaceutical company Merck for a purchase price of $14.2 billion. The OTC acquisition will give Bayer the global No. 2 position in nonprescription products following recently announced consolidations in this growing healthcare industry segment, and will significantly enhance Bayer’s business across multiple therapeutic categories and geographies. Merck's consumer care business includes such leading brands as Claritin, Coppertone and Dr. Scholl’s. Pro forma sales of the combined businesses in 2013 amounted to $7.4 billion with Merck’s business contributing approximately $2.2 billion.

Upon completion of the acquisition, Bayer is expected to achieve global leadership positions in dermatology and gastrointestinals and advance to the No. 2 position in the cold, allergy, sinus and flu category. Bayer will remain No. 2 in nutritionals and No. 3 in analgesics. Overall, the proposed GlaxoSmithKline-Novartis combination represents the largest consumer health business with about 5.7% share, according to reports. The Bayer/Merck combination comes in second with around 4.5% share. McNeil Consumer rounds out the top three globally with a share just above 4%.

May 2, 2014

"NACDS helps to protect the value we currently deliver and sets the stage to provide an even higher level of care, all while sending a powerful message that chain pharmacies are doing far more than filling prescriptions and selling merchandise." That's the message incoming National Association of Chain Drug Stores John Standley had for NACDS Annual attendees. It's a critical juncture in the healthcare industry, he said, and everyone who participates in NACDS plays a substantial role.

NACDS is getting a seasoned performer at the helm. Standley has shown exemplary leadership and remarkable clarity of vision in leading the turnaround at Rite Aid — today the retail health care company is in the best shape it has been in financially in more than a decade, and introduced several very innovative new programs and initiatives from the wellness ambassadors to wellness+ to the Rite Aid Health Aliance, and most recently its acquisition of RediClinic.

April 25, 2014

CVS Caremark has long stressed its commitment to reinventing pharmacy, and news of a bill pay service for health insurance premiums is in line with that mission and is yet another first that the trailblazer can add to its ever-growing list.

As the article states, customers can now visit their local CVS/pharmacy to pay their health insurance premiums at no additional cost. CVS/pharmacy is the first national retail pharmacy to offer this service.

April 18, 2014

Good news for manufacturers and retailers: Millennials are, in fact, brand loyal. That’s according to a new survey of Millennial consumers from marketing data provider Adroit Digital, which found that 64% of Millennials are more brand-loyal or as brand-loyal as their parents, with 24% considering themselves to be more brand-loyal than their parents.

But there’s a catch.