January 3, 2014

According to reports, as many as 2.1 million Americans signed up for new insurance coverage that went into effect Jan. 1. However, even though these newly insured people had coverage, what they perhaps didn't have was the identification card to process claims, such as prescriptions, for example. But don't worry, retail pharmacy was fast to the rescue, offering those 2.1 million patients who had obtained insurance through a health exchange the benefit of the doubt and a 30-day supply of their prescriptions at no upfront cost once their coverage was verified.

December 20, 2013

Walgreens posted a first-quarter sales increase of 5.9% to a record $18.3 billion. Front-end comparable store sales for the quarter increased 2.4% in the first quarter, customer traffic in comparable stores increased 0.2% and basket size increased 2.2%, while total sales in comparable stores increased 5.4%. Prescription sales, which accounted for 64.7% of sales in the quarter ended Nov. 30, increased 7.3%, while prescription sales in comparable stores increased 7.2%.

Front-end comps are up. Prescription comps are up. Business is good. And that's not the story. Rather, that's the kind of results you can expect from the story. The story is Walgreens is priming a three-pistoned growth engine that will quite likely drive what pharmacy will look like in the future — an efficient global supply chain beast that feeds a front-end that commands traffic in its own right, and a back-end that demands healthcare payers pay attention to how Walgreens can help improve adherence and patient-care metrics. So, how can suppliers better align with Walgreens?

December 19, 2013

While more than half of Americans don't agree with legalizing the sale and possession of small amounts of marijuana for recreational use, most also say that if legal, it should be sold at pharmacies, according to a new survey.

December 19, 2013

Rite Aid announced its third-quarter 2014 sales Thursday, showing higher total and same-store sales and profits than third quarter 2013, as well as continued growth in programs like the Wellness store format, Wellness65+ and others.

The main story surrounding Rite Aid over the past couple of years has been its efforts to engineer a turnaround, but the message from Thursday was, "Rite Aid more or less has turned around, so what's next?"

December 18, 2013

A new study has found a significant increase in the number of high school students who report having abused a common prescription drug for attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, even as abuse of other prescription drugs has decreased or remained low.

December 18, 2013

The U.S. healthcare system saved $217 billion in 2012 thanks to the use of generic drugs, according to a new report by a generic drug industry trade group.

December 17, 2013

Forty blockbuster drugs will use patent exclusivity in the United States between this year and 2020, according to a new study.

December 17, 2013

Consumer advocates worry that misconceptions and fears about the safety and effectiveness of flu vaccines are hindering efforts to get children vaccinated, according to a new survey.

December 16, 2013

Small and craft brewers contributed nearly $34 billion to the U.S. economy last year, according to a new analysis by a beer-brewing trade group.

December 13, 2013

According to published reports, Express Scripts may be looking to start a "price war" among the makers of the latest generation of drugs for hepatitis C — which promise much shorter treatment times than standard therapies, but also cost significantly more — in an effort to bring down prices.

The stakes are certainly high. According to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, there are 3.2 million people in the United States chronically infected with hepatitis C and hence at risk for liver cancer, and the CDC recommends that anyone born between 1945 and 1965 get tested for the virus.

December 13, 2013

Getting the flu shot prevented a flu-like illness for 6.6 million people last season, according to the CDC. In addition, it prevented 3.2 million medically attended illnesses and 79,000 hospitalizations. Not getting the flu shot can have adverse consequences, such as not going on that long-awaited vacation. According to a Walgreens survey, more than 11 million Americans had to change their vacation plans on account of the flu last year, most likely among families that didn't get their flu shots across the board.

Getting the flu shot works. But how much has being able to get that flu shot at the local retail pharmacy influenced the number of people getting a flu shot? More people are certainly taking advantage of the service. Walgreens recently reported that shots administered at pharmacies and clinics through November were more than 6.1 million versus nearly 4.6 million last year.

December 11, 2013

While the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act will undoubtedly reshape the U.S. healthcare industry for years to come, it is only one of many factors that will emerge next year, according to a new report.

December 10, 2013

Only a quarter of respondents to a new survey would call a doctor for advice when someone at home has the flu, despite widespread recognition of it as serious and of the need for vaccination.

December 9, 2013

A survey of more than 1,000 independent pharmacists finds that acquisition costs for generic drugs have spiked by as much as 1,000% this year.

December 6, 2013

McKesson's Health Mart pharmacy franchisees recently gained access to a tool that has the potential of giving community pharmacy a leg up on the competition in the coming years. EQuIPP, from Pharmacy Quality Solutions, does just that — equips independents with individual store data that marks the performance of their pharmacy vs. a national benchmark.

It's putting the pestle where the mortar is — retail pharmacy has the patient touchpoints and data-tracking wherewithal to make a material impact on patient outcomes. Important, because that's what the new year will bring — more and more healthcare payers looking to improve their own patient outcomes. And what better way to do it than to partner with outperforming pharmacies?

December 6, 2013

A study conducted among rural patients at Thrifty White Pharmacy locations in the Midwest and published in the November/December issue of the Journal of the American Pharmacists Association found that patients who received appointment-based medication synchronization were up to six times more likely to adhere to their therapies than those who didn't receive them.

Over the years, study after study has shown that pharmacists can play a crucial role in ensuring that patients take their drugs when they're supposed to and as instructed. And poor medication adherence is no small issue, as studies have shown it costs the country nearly $300 billion per year, in addition to contributing to poor health outcomes. It's been said that improvements in medication adherence can be the equivalent of a blockbuster drug, and according to the National Coalition on Health Care, self-management of chronic diseases could save $10 for every $1 spent.

December 6, 2013

Holiday shopping got a big boost during Thanksgiving weekend, and most of the growth came from shopping on Thanksgiving itself rather than Black Friday, according to a new report.

December 4, 2013

The program to vaccinate children against chickenpox introduced in 1996 does not seem to be behind an increase in recent years in the number of cases of shingles, according to a new study.

December 3, 2013

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has published a set of recommendations on collaborative practice agreements between pharmacists and physicians in an effort to improve healthcare quality, under a partnership with the American Pharmacists Association's philanthropic wing.

December 3, 2013

Elderly and disabled people nationwide have saved almost $9 billion on prescription drugs thanks to the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, according to a new study by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services.

December 2, 2013

Rite Aid announced Monday the promotion of Karen Staniforth to group VP pharmacy initiatives and clinical services from her current position of VP pharmacy for the chain's mid-Atlantic division. In her new position, Staniforth will oversee the company's strategy around the Wellness Ambassadors, specially trained staff who walk the aisles of the stores and provide information on health and wellness products and programs, as well as serve as a "bridge" between the front end and the pharmacy.

From the beginning, Wellness Ambassadors have been a crucial part of Rite Aid's Wellness store remodel program, and early on, John Standley, its chairman and CEO, noted that Wellness stores with Wellness Ambassadors showed stronger sales than those without them. As of the chain's second-quarter 2014, the results of which it announced in September, there were 1,700 Wellness Ambassadors at 1,019 stores.

December 2, 2013

Vaccines have prevented an estimated 100 million cases of serious childhood contagious diseases in the nearly 90 years since the vaccine for pertussis, or whooping cough, became available, according to a new study.

December 2, 2013

Patients who received appointment-based medication synchronization were up to six times more likely to adhere to their therapies than those who didn't, according to a study of patients at rural Thrifty White Pharmacy locations in the Midwest published in the Journal of the American Pharmacists Association.

December 2, 2013

Canada's Jean Coutu Group is helping to bolster holiday sales with the launch of its "e-store window" inside the Longueuil Metro Station. Commuters will be able to shop a wall of deals using their smartphones with delivery before Dec. 24.

It's not really an example of thinking outside the box, as much as it's eliminating the concept of a box altogether. It's an extension of the Jean Coutu brand name into a space typically associated with billboard-style advertising, only stoppers-by can shop the space as easily as they do in the store or online.