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Brand awareness low with retail clinicians

BY Alaric DeArment

Whether it is the autonomy, providing convenient affordable health care to patients, having more flexible hours—or all of the above—job satisfaction among healthcare practitioners working in retail-based health clinics remains extremely high, according to Drug Store News’ sister publication Retail Clinician’s third annual readers survey. In fact, in all, 97 percent of Retail Clinician readers described themselves as satisfied with their current jobs. Almost 84 percent saying they were either “extremely” or “mostly” satisfied.

“I find it most rewarding having time to explain illness and treatment to patients,” one respondent noted. “People appreciate the little time I spend educating them about their health and their habits.” Judging from their answers, however, it is clear that many in-store healthcare providers are not quite so satisfied with their knowledge of the full range of OTC medication options available to treat the complete scope of illnesses and conditions that typically present in a retail clinic environment.

More than half of the respondents said they did not consider themselves up-to-date on the full range of over-the-counter treatment options for common ailments and symptoms, even though they reported recommending OTC products for treating symptoms to an average of 58.5 percent of the patients they see. Meanwhile 84.3 percent said they frequently write prescriptions and recommend an OTC remedy for a patient.

At the same time, 70.2 percent said that they interact with store pharmacists six to 20 times a week, and 66.7 percent consult with their stores’ pharmacists on patients’ specific drug therapies. Of those, almost all said they would like more information, though slightly more than half said they consult with pharmacists on OTC product recommendations.

This creates an opportunity for manufacturers to increase brand awareness among nurse practitioners because many common ailments that respondents reported encountering at retail clinics are treatable with over-the-counter drugs, including sore throat, colds, allergies and cough.

Respondents who recommend OTC products most often said that they suggest nationally advertised brands rather than store-brand or private-label products, despite the price advantage of the latter.

However, nurse practitioners said that they tend to think in terms of a drug’s active ingredients rather than its brand name. In fact, almost 80 percent of respondents reported that they make decisions regarding over-the-counter products on their own, as opposed to using pre-established treatment protocols.

The online survey was sent to 2,500 readers in July, and 121 readers responded within a 72-hour period.

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Walgreens donates food, supplies as new storms target Gulf, Southeast

BY Jim Frederick

DEERFIELD, Ill. Walgreens has sent truckloads of food, water and emergency supplies to Baton Rouge, La., to aid with continuing Hurricane Gustav relief efforts.

Among the necessities shipped to hard-hit residents: water, trail mix, granola bars and other snack items, along with infant formula and diapers. Walgreens reports it is also gathering supplies to place on standby for a swift response to new emergency requests across the nation’s southeast coast with the expected arrival of Tropical Storm Hanna this weekend and Hurricane Ike next week.

“We’ll direct critical resources to communities in need,” said Walgreens director of community affairs John Gremer. “We’re on alert, and we’ll be ready to help wherever we can.”

The company notes there is still “tremendous need in many Baton Rouge communities,” which were among the hardest hit by Gustav. “Thousands remain without electricity, and food and water are still in high demand,” the company reports.

Another priority is getting any stores that were closed due to the storm back open quickly, according to the chain. As of Friday morning, Walgreens reported, “all but one of Walgreens’ 15 Baton Rouge stores are open. Across the Gulf Coast region, only nine remain closed down from 69 closed immediately following the storm.”

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Rite Aid donates $44,500-plus in supplies for Gustav evacuees

BY Michael Johnsen

CAMP HILL, Pa. To further assist evacuees of Hurricane Gustav, The Rite Aid Foundation is donating more than $44,500 worth of supplies including water, snacks, sunscreen, hand sanitizer and other personal hygiene products as requested by the Louisiana Capital Area Chapter of the American Red Cross to be distributed at shelters for evacuees, the Foundation announced Friday

“Throughout the Gulf Coast, widespread flooding and violent wind damage have created an urgent need for disaster support,” stated Jeff Towers, chief development officer at the American Red Cross. “Rite Aid generously responded to this need through in-kind and financial support to help the Red Cross provide food, shelter and counseling to Gulf Coast communities during this hurricane season.”

Earlier this week, The Rite Aid Foundation made a $75,000 donation to the American Red Cross to help the victims, families and communities affected by Hurricane Gustav in Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama. A relief team of Rite Aid associates, including store cashiers and pharmacists, have traveled from Tennessee and unaffected areas of Louisiana and Alabama to help stores that have been impacted and to help reopen additional stores.

“One of Rite Aid’s core values is to be caring neighbors in the communities we serve, and we are happy to work with the American Red Cross to help the evacuees of Hurricane Gustav,” commented Mike Seesholtz, Rite Aid regional vice president for Alabama, Louisiana and Mississippi. “Our associates have been amazing in their commitment to do whatever they can to help the victims of Hurricane Gustav.”

Residents displaced by the hurricane can visit any open Rite Aid for their prescriptions because the company’s satellite-linked computer network assures a complete customer prescription history at any Rite Aid store. Because of the state of emergency, Rite Aid pharmacies also can access prescription information for patients who do not normally get their prescriptions at Rite Aid.

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