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Costco May sales up 7%

BY Alaric DeArment

ISSAQUAH, Wash. — Costco’s reported May sales of $8.13 billion, a 7% increase over May 2012, the club retailer said Thursday.

Comps for the month increased by 5% in the chain’s 449 U.S. stores during the period between May 6 and June 2. For the 39-week period that ended June 2, sales were $77.13 billion, an 8% increase over $71.28 billion during the same period last year, while comps increased by 6%. On a regional basis, the company’s stores in Texas, the Southeast and the Midwest showed the strongest results.

Guggenheim Securities maintained a "Neutral" rating for Costco’s stock — which was trading at $110.24 per share by midmorning Thursday, up 1% — though the 5% rise in comps was above Guggenheim’s forecast of 3%. Meanwhile, New York-based investment firm Sterne Agee gave the stock a "Buy" rating.


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NACDS shines light on public’s trust of community pharmacy following Aflac survey

BY Antoinette Alexander

ARLINGTON, Va. — The National Association of Chain Drug Stores is reminding private sector and government decision-makers about the public’s trust of community pharmacists as healthcare advisers and about the ability of new pharmacy services – in conjunction with physicians and other healthcare partners – to help empower patients to improve their health. The statement comes on the heels of an Aflac survey that revealed concerns about Americans’ confidence in their ability to play active roles in “consumer-driven healthcare.”

As previously reported by Drug Store News, the third annual Aflac WorkForces Report found that American workers are not prepared to take greater control of their health care in light of healthcare reform and rising healthcare costs, according to recent research. Among the findings: 72% of the workforce have not heard of the phrase “consumer-driven health care.”

 “Employers and government officials who are looking for solutions to the challenges of empowering patients for better health can find a reliable partner in community pharmacies,” stated NACDS president and CEO Steve Anderson. “We know from research and from face-to-face interactions between pharmacists and patients that pharmacies are viewed as the face of neighborhood health care.”

Opinion research conducted for NACDS in July 2012 found that 91% of respondents reported having a great deal of confidence or some confidence in pharmacists as a source for health advice. NACDS’ survey also found that patients are enthusiastic about new pharmacy services, including vaccinations, health education, disease state testing and management, and programs like medication therapy management that help patients succeed in taking their medications as prescribed.

“We found that patients value the community pharmacist’s role in helping them use medicines safely and stay healthy, and that they appreciate new and innovative pharmacy services that do even more to improve patient health and quality of life,” Anderson added. “While pharmacists are widely trusted and seen as highly accessible, they are particularly and extremely valued by those in the greatest of need. Pharmacy services also are recognized as keys to enhancing healthcare affordability.”

In addition to NACDS’ research, Gallup’s annual Honesty and Ethics survey has placed pharmacists in the top three among all professions — even beyond healthcare — for 10 consecutive years.

“To take advantage of the tremendous value of community pharmacy, NACDS urges leaders in the private sector and public sector alike to pursue policies that maintain patients’ access to community pharmacies, and that leverage pharmacy services which improve patient health and healthcare affordability,” said Anderson. “Community pharmacies need to be leveraged in the healthcare delivery models of the future, if these models are going to meet with success in empowering patients to play a more active role in their well-being.”
 


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Prime Therapeutics specialty pharmacy receives URAC accreditation

BY Alaric DeArment

ST. PAUL, Minn. — Washington-based healthcare accrediting organization URAC has given its stamp of approval to the specialty pharmacy operated by pharmacy benefit manager Prime Therapeutics, Prime said Wednesday.

URAC establishes quality standards for the healthcare industry and started its specialty pharmacy accreditation program because it is a key distribution channel for pharmacy benefit management.

"URAC accreditation recognizes Prime’s unwavering commitment to the health and wellbeing of its members," Prime SVP consumer delivery Duane Barnes said. "From our state-of-the-art facility to extensive member education and support, Prime Therapeutics Specialty Pharmacy assures its members that their entire experience is of the utmost superior."


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