The stalemate between Walgreens and Express Scripts may have come to an end, but CVS Caremark remains optimistic and has developed a multifaceted plan to help it retain a significant number of the prescriptions gained from the impasse, CVS Caremark president and CEO Larry Merlo told analysts during Tuesday morning’s second-quarter conference call.
Over the next three years, Walgreens plans to create 500 new jobs in the Chicago area and invest $75 million to expand and renovate its Deerfield, Ill., offices in a deal that will cede Walgreens $47 million in state tax credits for retaining 1,500 existing jobs, according to an early morning report published by the Chicago Sun-Times on Friday.
Rite Aid reported a 0.5% increase in same-store sales for July, including a 1.2% increase in front-end comps and a 0.2% increase in pharmacy comps. Prescription count at comparable stores increased 4.5%.
The Walgreens Health Guide has a pharmacy technician license and at least two years in medical training. While there is a station positioned in front of the pharmacy, the Health Guides more often are in the aisles helping patients rather than waiting for patients to come to them.
Prepare to roll up your sleeves, because the battle for the ESI patient has only just begun. While Wall Street is busy calculating the earnings-per-share impact this will have on all relevant parties (at press time, Walgreens’ shares had consistently hovered around the $35 range, up almost $4 in the week following the announcement), the business of pharmacy retailing will return to block and tackle mode.
Incorporated into the new store formats currently being rolled out by both Walgreens and Rite Aid is a new store associate position with the primary function of proactively engaging customers in the OTC aisle. Walgreens calls them Health Guides; Rite Aid calls them Wellness Ambassadors.
The Kessler Foundation and the Heldrich Center for Workforce Development last week released a research brief on disability employment titled “Strategies to Support Employer-Driven Initiatives to Recruit and Retain Employees with Disabilities” that explores the growing trend among employers in accommodating workers with disabilities.
In 2006, Time magazine added a twist to its annual “Person of the Year” cover story, replacing the usual picture of some prominent individual with a picture of a glossy computer screen to show that social networking had made “you” the person of the year. Now, the idea that it’s all about “you” has percolated into retail.
“It’s actually an illusion that those boxers are separate entities. The separate entities are just the way we choose to perceive them. The boxers, you, me — we’re all part of the same quantum field. Think of the two boxers as ocean waves or currents of air — two tornadoes, say. They appear to be two separate things, but they’re not. Tornadoes are just wind. The wind stirred up in different directions. The fact is nothing is separate. Everything is connected. The shapes we see exist only in our own consciousness.”
Everybody loves a comeback story, and it looks as though the pharmacy retail industry has one of its own in the making as Rite Aid’s latest earnings report showed another strong quarter for the Camp Hill, Pa.-based chain, which has been steadily growing its sales and narrowing its losses for several quarters already.
A number of smaller manufacturers of male contraceptives are launching into the market to challenge the big three: Church & Dwight (72.8% dollar share in the category), Ansell Healthcare (11.6% dollar share) and Reckitt Benckiser (11.5% dollar share).
If you're a student of pharmacy today, this is what you have to look forward to in the retail pharmacy setting: working with local, state and national health departments on creating market-driven disease state management programs; actually practicing what your professors have been preaching over the past six years; applying patient management skills over prescription adjudication skills; and making a real difference in your patients' lives.
So Walgreens and Express Scripts have buried the hatchet. The question is, can the nation’s top pharmacy retailer regain the billions of dollars in contracted prescription revenues it ceded to its competitors after the two sides severed relations in January? And, given the way Walgreens has adjusted and reset its growth strategy since then, does it matter that much?