PHARMACY

Building Lone Star loyalty, the H-E-B way

BY Jim Frederick

Not many retail companies would give their customers a vote on how they design their new stores. It’s just one of many ways that H-E-B works to cultivate millions of loyal consumers.

The pharmacy is a focal point for those efforts. VP pharmacy Craig Norman and other pharmacy leaders have turned those large-scale drug store departments into a center not only for one of the largest prescription businesses in the Lone Star state, but also for a growing menu of health and prevention services. H-E-B’s pharmacists, for example, provide one of the most active vaccination programs in the state for influenza, shingles, pneumonia, meningitis and other conditions.

The chain also conducts an extensive health screenings program around such disease states as diabetes. Last year, H-E-B performed about 100,000 screenings in its stores.

Those efforts dovetail with the chain’s “Fully Fit” store-branding program, which provides icons right on packaging to identify healthy food choices throughout the store.

Customers also can access a range of discounts and wellness offerings via the H-E-B Rx Rewards Platinum card. A one-time enrollment fee of $5, which covers every member of a household, guarantees Rx Rewards cardholders discounts on all branded and generic medications — including 500 generics at a 30-day price of $5 and a 90-day prescription rate of $9.99 — as well as discounts on immunizations and pet medicines, a free inControl No Coding starter kit for diabetic patients, free health screenings and free prenatal vitamins.

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PHARMACY

Harris Teeter concerns itself with helping achieve ‘yourwellness’

BY Jim Frederick

Harris Teeter describes itself as “not just a grocery store,” but also “a wellness center.” The Matthews, N.C.-based supermarket retailer has taken big steps to provide a broader-than-usual menu of services that blend its pharmacy assets with its growing reach as a source of nutritional expertise.

Since 2006, Harris Teeter has built its health-and-wellness outreach on an integrated platform of services it markets as “yourwellness.” The program includes a free “yourwellness” e-newsletter, interactive online applications and “wellness” tags on products and shelves throughout the store to steer customers to foods that are heart-healthy, organic, sugar-free, low in sodium or fat, lactose-free or rich in calcium or vitamins. Customer advice and meal plans are provided by two nutritional experts.

Harris Teeter pharmacies offer the full range of modern retail prescription services — an opt-in automatic refill program, a Generic Prescription Savings Club that offers 90-day supplies of more than 300 me-too medicines for $9.99 and a new integrated pharmacy system that links all of the chain’s more than 120 pharmacies.

The “yourwellness” membership card provides customers with a broader menu of discounts on such healthcare services as eyeglasses, contact lenses, dental cleanings, X-rays, fillings, vitamins, hearing aids and diabetic supplies. The card is a three-tiered program, offering customers a choice of award levels.
Other services include follow-up calls within 48 to 72 hours after a child receives an antibiotic prescription, immunizations and the recent adoption of sophisticated electronic health record technology that gives both patients and pharmacists a real-time, easily accessed information platform.

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Focus on healthcare value charts Giant Eagle flight path

BY Michael Johnsen

Regional operator Giant Eagle always has pushed the envelope with new store concepts, as evidenced by its high-end Market District grocery brand and Giant Eagle Express, a convenience store/gas station replete with a wide offering of food items and a full-service, drive-through pharmacy.

That entrepreneurial tendency is replicated in the $8.2 billion grocer’s pharmacy department under the direction of VP pharmacy Randy Heiser. In fall 2009, Giant Eagle put into motion the first of its HBW (health/beauty/wellness) pilot tests — a new wellness format that helps bridge pharmacy and a more natural, wellness-oriented front end.

Led by corporate nutritionist Judy Dodd, Giant Eagle fields a staff of registered dietitians to help answer any food and nutrition questions that one of its 3.8 million Giant Eagle Advantage cardholders may have. “We look to [help those in our communities] by expanding upon the high-quality service found in our pharmacies, and by continuing to develop initiatives, such as our health and beauty care business, in-store retail health clinics and our group of skilled dietitians,” said Daniel Donovan, Giant Eagle spokesman.

Giant Eagle also is focused on delivering healthcare value to its customers with such offerings as the $4 generic prescription program and the free antibiotic initiatives. In summer 2010, Giant Eagle also began offering five commonly prescribed medications for the treatment of Type 2 diabetes — glimepiride, glipizide, glyburide, metformin and chlorpropamid — at no cost to patients.

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