CVS clusters consumables in new urban store concept
NEW YORK —CVS/pharmacy has always prided itself on convenience, but the retailer clearly is raising the bar with the rollout of its Urban Cluster store concept.
The company expected to have 300 of its 7,100-plus stores converted to the concept by the end of the year, and expected to have a total of 1,300 to 1,400 stores reset to the concept over the next few years, according to company spokesman Mike DeAngelis.
During a recent tour of a newly reset Urban Cluster store in New York’s Union Square, Drug Store News got a firsthand glimpse at how the retailer is looking to better meet the needs of neighborhood residents and tourists staying at the nearby W Hotel.
Upon entering the store, it is clear to see the significant focus on consumables, which in the reset was expanded and moved to the left side of the store to be near the door—a prominent location that makes the section impossible to overlook and easy to access. With a Morton Williams supermarket about five blocks north and a busy Whole Foods on the south end of Union Square, the new CVS Urban Cluster concept store is a more convenient quick-trip option for W Hotel guests who are just steps away from the CVS, which also has a Healthy Skincare Center.
Located right at the entrance is an expansive Grab & Go prepared foods section, offering an array of prepared sandwiches, salads and fresh fruit individually wrapped for cleanliness, as well as an assortment of such healthy beverages as Muscle Milk and Zico coconut water. A large cooler section houses deli meats, cheese, frozen foods, yogurt, soda and beer.
The Grab & Go also features an expanded pantry offering. The store also has a greater assortment of household and baby offerings, and an expanded travel-size section and selection of wines, which are priced at less than $7 a bottle.
CVS isn’t alone in its efforts to offer shoppers more food options. In May 2009, Walgreens unveiled its first expanded food concept in a revamped Walgreens store in Chicago’s Near West Side. The goal: To fill in “food deserts” by offering such grocery items as fresh fruits and vegetables, frozen meats and fish to those residents living in neighborhoods that have limited access to supermarkets.
To date, Walgreens has redesigned 10 of its stores on Chicago’s South and West Sides to include more than 750 new food items.
BioMarin Pharmaceutical acquires ZyStor Therapeutics
NOVATO, Calif. BioMarin Pharmaceutical has acquired privately owned biotechnology company ZyStor Therapeutics for $22 million, BioMarin said.
The drug maker said it also would pay ZyStor up to $93 million in milestone payments. The main gem in the deal was ZC-701, ZyStor’s investigative treatment for the lysosomal storage disorder Pompe disease and a potential competitor to Genzyme Corp.’s Pompe disease treatment Myozyme (alglucosidase alfa). A phase 1/2 clinical study of ZC-701 in late-onset Pompe disease is expected to begin in first quarter 2011.
“The acquisition of ZyStor gives us the opportunity to introduce a superior product to fulfill an unmet medical need and is a perfect fit in our core business,” BioMarin CEO Jean-Jacques Bienaime stated. “It not only provides us with a promising product candidate for Pompe disease, but also an exciting new platform technology.”
Nurse practitioners are vital to a healthy U.S. healthcare system
WHAT IT MEANS AND WHY IT’S IMPORTANT The USA Today article highlighting nurse-managed centers as one “innovative” program that could help fill the primary care physician void is important because it underscores the important role that nurse practitioners play in delivering quality healthcare services.
(THE NEWS: Nurse-managed centers may fill primary care physician void. For the full story, click here)
It is no secret that the healthcare system has been, and will continue to be, under great strain as healthcare costs soar and a shortage of primary care doctors largely contributes to the bottle-necking taking place within emergency rooms.
According to numbers provided by the Convenient Care Association, as few as 2% of medical students coming out of U.S. medical schools intend to pursue a career in general primary care. Also, between 30% and 60% of convenient care clinic patients reported not having a primary care physician. Plus, as many as 40% of convenient care clinic patients said they would have sought costlier care or would have foregone care completely if there had not been a convenient care clinic available.
Clearly, there’s a gap that needs to be filled, and convenient care clinics and such clinics as the Family Practice and Counseling Network in Philadelphia highlighted in the USA Today article, are striving to help fill that gap.
The good news is that the importance of nurse practitioners, as well as the retail-based clinic setting, is not going unnoticed. In fact, Senators Dan Inouye, D-Hawaii, and Thad Cochran, D-Miss., in July introduced the Senate resolution officially designating Aug. 2 to 8, 2010, as National Convenient Care Clinic Week.
Now, with about 30 million uninsured gaining healthcare coverage under healthcare reform and patients making fewer physician visits, either because they can’t afford it or can’t get an appointment in a timely fashion, the U.S. healthcare systems needs “innovative” programs and needs nurse practitioners.