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CVS donates $300,000-plus in supplies for California

BY Antoinette Alexander

WOONSOCKET, R.I. To assist with the California relief efforts, CVS is donating more than $300,000 in supplies and has established an emergency prescription delivery service.

“We are deeply concerned about the impact these fires have had on our customers and employees and we are pleased to aid on-going relief efforts with these donations,” stated Ronald Day, CVS’ area vice president of California. “We will continue to stay in touch with relief officials and provide any additional assistance that is needed.”

The pharmacy retailer announced on Wednesday that it is donating more than $300,000 in supplies to aid fire relief efforts in California. A truckload of health care and personal care items have been delivered to Qualcomm Stadium in San Diego to help evacuees who are sheltered there.

CVS also has established an emergency prescription delivery service to the stadium and is delivering a seven-day supply of prescription medication to about 300 evacuees identified by on-site medical personnel. Several CVS pharmacy staff members have also been volunteering their time to provide assistance at the shelter.

The company also is providing more than 9,200 ExtraCare Relief Kits, which contain nearly two doze personal care items, to the American Red Cross for distribution to other shelters that have been setup in San Diego.

Over the past three days, the company has donated several pallets of water to firefighter command posts in the area and will continue to do so.

Those CVS pharmacy patients who have been displaced by the fires and are unable to access to their local CVS may visit any other CVS location to have their prescription filled. The company has 380 stores in the state, including 50 locations in the San Diego market.

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Former NACDS counsel Kocot to join law firm of Sonnenschein Nath & Rosenthal

BY Drew Buono

WASHINGTON Law firm Sonnenschein Nath & Rosenthal LLP has announced the S. Lawrence Kocot has joined its national Health Care Group as senior counsel in its Washington, D.C., office.

Kocot, the former senior advisor to the Administrator of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, practice focuses on strategic business advice, public law, and policy and health care regulatory issues.

While at CMS, Kocot served as a member of the senior executive team responsible for managing policy and operations for the Medicare, Medicaid and State Children’s Health Insurance Programs and the 92 million people they serve.  He also was a key member of the management staff responsible for the launch of the new Medicare Prescription Drug Benefit (Part D) and led several high profile initiatives, including pharmaceutical delivery in disaster response.

Previously, he was senior vice president and general counsel at the National Association of Chain Drug Stores, where he was responsible for all legal matters and represented the industry to Congress, state legislatures and state and federal regulatory agencies.

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Walgreens taps local vendors for Hawaii store opening

BY Jim Frederick

HONOLULU As it gears up for the grand opening of its first Hawaii store, Walgreen Co. said it is reaching out to dozens of local vendors to supply the store, set to open Nov. 1 on the site of a former Tower Records outlet on busy Kapiolani Boulevard in this bustling metro market.

Dana Psomas, district manager for the company’s new Hawaii operation, said Walgreens is setting up accounts with more than 50 local suppliers to help create a shopping environment that caters to the specific tastes of Hawaiian consumers. “We’re committed to offering a broad selection of local products so that from the first day, our customers feel at home in our stores,” said Psomas. “We’re especially proud to have so many local suppliers represented in a store smaller than our typical size.

“We’ve learned from our vendors what is important to Hawaii’s customers, and that’s reflected in our merchandise offerings.”

Those offerings will go beyond products that are traditionally supplied locally, such as bread, dairy products, soft drinks and water, according to Walgreens. The company is also using local suppliers for product categories that include candy, local snacks, grocery items, automotive needs, souvenirs and greeting cards.

“Being new to the market, their assistance is invaluable to us,” said the DM. “We want to…merchandise our stores to the local community, neighborhood by neighborhood.”

Walgreens plans to open three additional Hawaii stores in the second half of 2008 and eventually operate 25-30 stores across the state.

Marking another milestone, Walgreens will stage the grand opening of its 6,000th drug store Wednesday in New Orleans. The store, located in the city’s historic Carrollton neighborhood, is the company’s 48th unit in New Orleans, and marks an ongoing comeback for both the local Walgreens operation and the city itself following the devastation of Hurricane Katrina.

“And the growth will continue,” noted Walgreens in a statement. “By the end of next year, Walgreens will have more stores in the New Orleans metro area than it did prior to…Katrina.”

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