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AAP works to boost indies’ market power

BY Jim Frederick

Ownership has its privileges. Consider American Associated Pharmacies. Independent pharmacy owners who join this member-owned, national cooperative gain access to the purchasing, merchandising, distribution, managed-care contracting and back-end business services that help them compete locally on a more equal footing with their chain counterparts.

AAP was born in September 2009 out of the merger of two premier pharmacy buying and store-support organizations. From the combination of Phoenix-based United Drugs and Scottsboro, Ala.-based Associated Pharmacies, or API, emerged a national network of independent drug stores with a common purchasing and distribution platform and increased clout with vendors and managed care plans.

Among the services AAP provides:

  • AAP Elite, a suite of services to help members leverage a common dispensing and discount purchasing system;
  • Scan & Toss, a central order and replenishment system that assures pharmacies beneficial pricing terms from vendors;
  • ClaimGUARD, which focuses on underpaid claims and pharmacy reimbursements from payers on behalf of members; and
  • StaffGUARD, a new program to help pharmacies comply with federal mandates regarding the hiring and workload of federally sanctioned persons.

"We’ll continue to … grow member services," AAP president and CEO Jon Copeland told DSN. "For starters, we are refreshing and expanding our information technology and human resources infrastructure. Additionally, we’re assessing … [a] new specialty pharmacy services offering, and we’re upgrading our marketing services capabilities."

AAP recently added another pharmacist staff position in charge of pharmacy program development. The company also purchased and modernized a second distribution center in Memphis, Tenn., more than doubling its distribution capacity and delivering more efficient and improved service to its Mountain and Pacific time zone members.

EDITOR’S NOTE: In the April 22 issue, AAP was inadvertantly omitted from the DSN Annual PoweRx Top 50 retail pharmacy rankings. DSN has recalculated the top 20 to show AAP’s true rank at No. 9. DSN regrets the error.

FOOTNOTES FOR POWERx PLAYERS TOP 20

  1. Includes only retail pharmacies and specialty pharmacies
  2. Includes pharmacy services segment revenue of $73.4 billion, total retail sales of $63.7 billion
  3. Retail stores
  4. FY2013
  5. Includes 3,158 supercenters, 561 discount stores, 267 supermarkets and 19 small format stores
  6. Excludes the Medicine Shoppe/Medicap stores
  7. Reflecting sale or closing of 25 Genuardi’s supermarkets in eastern United States in fall 2012, closing of additional 21 units in fiscal 2012 and opening of nine new Lifestyle stores
  8. For fiscal 2012, ended Feb. 2, 2013

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T.Eury says:
Jun-07-2013 04:16 pm

Any pharmacy buying group that's helping Independent Pharmacy businesses to grow is a good entity. We need more advocacy for privately owned pharmacies. We need more support for community pharmacies to thrive. In addition to typical buying group advantages I want to challenge all the 12 major buying groups within the country to do more. Independents are under tremendous pressures to succeed and I know the business model of pharmacy buying groups. As a pharmacy buying group president - I want to encourage Jon Copeland & the AAP team to do more for his members. Think creatively, push to uncomfortable limits, and create new wealth for your customers. Our pharmacy buying group PharmacyGPO, Inc., is tiny in comparison to EPIC, AAP, APCI, PBA Health, Lone Star, and several others - but size doesn't matter. It's our common mission that matters. It's time we do more to ensure the survival of Independent Pharmacy businesses. I'm challenging these groups to stretch. Create wealth for your members. We will work to challenge other buying groups to to hopefully help them become even better solutions providers for the ultimate success of Independent Pharmacies throughout the country - to compete better against the national chains and the obstacles of the BIG-PBMs.

T.MCKINNEY BERRY says:
Jun-04-2013 07:27 pm

Congrats AAP!

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Bic lights the way

BY Barbara White-Sax

WHITE PLAINS, N.Y. — Bic is bringing something new to the stationery aisle with its Bic Brite Liner Highlighter Tape, the only highlighter tape on the market, according to the company. Available in yellow and pink, the fluorescent tape adds highlights without bleeding through paper and is erasable. Bic Brite Liner Highlighter Tape is available in a one-pack for less than $3 and in a two-pack for less than $5.

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Yoga products stretch onto drug store shelves

BY Barbara White-Sax

Yoga products have become a high growth category, and drug store retailers are finding ways to capitalize on the growing trend. "Yoga participation has grown at a 12% compounded annual rate since 2000. There has also been a 10% annual growth rate in revenues related to yoga instruction from 2008 to 2012," said Mary Elisabeth Plowden, principal at Partnership Capital Growth. The investment firm estimated that there are approximately 16 million people in the United States who practice yoga, and at least half that many have indicated they would like to try it.

Clearly, there’s an upside to the yoga industry. Plowden estimated annual spending on yoga to be $10 billion. Yoga enthusiasts are attractive core consumers; they are generally well educated (57% have a college degree or higher) and earn higher household incomes (50% of participants earn more than $75,000 a year).

Yoga apparel is the largest segment in the industry, followed by yoga media. Sales of props/equipment (e.g., bags, blocks, bolsters and towels) rank third. Annual sales in this segment total about $2 billion, according to Partnership Growth Capital estimates.

Since a majority of yoga participants are women, drug chains are seeing an opportunity in the category. "The demographics match, so it’s a missed opportunity not to add a well-priced section of yoga mats in drug stores," said Richard Belford, director of sales and marketing at Wai Lana. Walgreens features the company’s yoga products on its website.

Belford said that mats are the best-selling yoga products, so drug stores should consider adding attractive, mid-priced mats to their mix. "Printed mats, which retail for $14.95, are a good choice for the drug store channel," Belford said.

"An interesting idea is a ‘wellness’ section with yoga merchandised next to vitamins, supplements and sports nutrition since data shows some crossover in those consumers’ purchasing habits," said Brian Smith, partner at Partnership Capital Growth. Smith said an ideal section could also include not only mats and mat wash, towels, bags and yoga books and DVDs, but such ancillary products as Luna and Cliff energy bars and water bottles.

Whole Foods has done well with this approach. More recently, Walgreens has been layering in a three-foot yoga section in many of its stores. The chain’s website has a more extensive line of yoga products, including a range of mats, towels and socks.

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A.KV says:
Jun-18-2013 10:44 am

Yoga is successfully used for treatment of children with special needs. Yoga has a more comprehensive effect as compared to traditional therapies that mostly target specific problems. kids gymnastics

S.HADDLE says:
Jun-05-2013 01:06 am

Yoga is one of the finest means of complete enlightening our body and soul. In past few years, it had shown a remarkable rise and practiced throughout the world.Yoga products in drug store clearly indicate the craze of yoga practiced in different parts throughout the country. nursing pillow

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