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Communication key in chain’s Rx initiatives

BY Mike Duff

Brookshire Brothers introduced its newest supermarket with a pharmacy department to the town of Salado, Texas, in December 2009. Emily Watts, a Brookshire Brothers spokeswoman, noted that the Salado opening gives the chain a total of 67 operating pharmacies among 71 stores operating under the banner.

BROOKSHIRE BROTHERS

Headquarters: Lufkin, Texas2009 sales: $1.17 billion% change vs. 2008: -2.6%No. of stores: 71No. of stores with Rx: 67Avg. store size: 32,500 sq. ft.Rx sales: $91.3 million% of sales from Rx: 7.8%Sales per store: $16.5 million* Excludes 31 c-storesSource: Company reports

Pharmacy director Ted Zieschang said making headway had been tough in 2009, with the recession impacting Brookshire Brothers’ business. He said the company’s pharmacy operations had to deal with tighter budgets “just like everyone else.”

The retailer is finding new ways to communicate with consumers about its pharmacy and pharmacy operations. Among the efforts that Brookshire Brothers pursued last year was a social media initiative. Active on both Twitter and Facebook, the company has used social media to alert consumers to such pharmacy programs as the availability of H1N1 flu shots. In particular, on Dec. 28, 2009, Brookshire Brothers used its Facebook page to let customers know that inoculations would be available the next day and to connect them to the pharmacy finder on its Web site.

Brookshire Brothers is using the pharmacy section of its Web site to promote its Script Saver, which promises lower prices on a wide assortment of commonly prescribed drugs. Free sign-up entitles consumers to participate in Brookshire Brothers’ $4 for 30-day and $10 for 90-day generic prescription drug programs.

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Schnucks’ O’Brien to serve on Department of Agriculture advisory committee

BY Alaric DeArment

ST. LOUIS An executive from Schnuck Markets will serve on an advisory committee of the Department of Agriculture, Schnucks said this week.

Agriculture secretary Tom Vilsack announced that Schnucks VP produce and floral Mike O’Brien would be one of 25 people appointed to a two-year term on the USDA’s Fruit and Vegetable Industry Advisory Committee. O’Brien is also vice chairman of the Produce Marketing Association.

 

“I am honred to represent Schnuck Markets and the retail produce industry as a member of this committee,” O’Brien said. “I am looking forward to the opportunity to contribute and to make a difference for families across the nation.”

The committee, originally chartered in 2001, advises the secretary of agriculture on industry issues related to fruits and vegetables.

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Gilead commences phase 3 trial for single-tablet HIV treatment

BY Alaric DeArment

FOSTER CITY, Calif. Gilead Sciences has started a late-stage clinical trial of an investigational 4-in-1 treatment for HIV, the drug maker said.

Gilead announced the initiation of a phase 3 trial of its “Quad” HIV drug, a single-tablet treatment that combines elvitegravir, cobicistat, emtricitabine and tenofovir disoproxil fumarate. The study will compare the Quad regimen with the standard of care among adults with HIV-1 who have not taken antiretroviral treatments. The company is also investigating cobicistat as a standalone boosting agent for antiretroviral drugs.

“We are pleased to announce that the Quad phase 3 clinical program is underway,” Gilead EVP research and development and chief scientific officer Norbert Bischofberger said. “Efficacy and safety results from the phase 2 study suggest that the Quad may represent an important new option for patients with HIV.”

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