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Family pharmacy makes new name for itself

BY Antoinette Alexander

Regional player Fruth Pharmacy has undergone a good deal of change in the past year as it has a new president in place, a new robust marketing program in the works and a loyalty program on the horizon.

Bob Messick may not be new to Fruth, having joined the company in 1986, but he is fairly new to the role of president. Messick, who also serves as COO, assumed the role on an interim basis in June 2009—succeeding Laddie Burdette, who left the company—and on a permanent basis around August 2009. Over the years, Messick has held various positions at Fruth, including comptroller, CFO and COO, prior to being named president.

One of the biggest initiatives currently under way at the company is the launch of a new 12-month marketing program. “We hired a marketing firm out of Pittsburgh to develop some professional-looking TV commercials.… We have done some TV in the past, but we have always left it to the local TV stations to do the filming,” said Messick, who noted that the campaign also includes radio and circulars.

Through the campaign, Fruth Pharmacy will be positioning the company as the “new Fruth,” and highlighting its long-standing heritage through its “Your Hometown, Family Pharmacy” tag line. The company has been serving southwestern West Virginia and southern Ohio since 1952.

The first program to be highlighted is the company’s new generic drug discount program, which enables patients to get up to a 30-day supply of more than 300 generic drugs for $4, or up to a 90-day supply for $10. It also will offer discounts on other generic and brand-name medications, and such other services as eyeglasses and hearing aids, noted VP pharmacy Eric Lambert.

In June, a second round of messaging will tout the company’s new loyalty program. Under the program, shoppers will earn points with each purchase that are redeemable for a Fruth gift card.

Looking ahead, Messick said the company is looking to expand its business by acquiring an independent pharmacy and implementing pharmacies within hospital settings.

FRUTH

Headquarters: Point Pleasant, W.Va.2009 sales: $134 million% change vs. 2008: 0%No. of stores: 25No. of stores with Rx: 25Avg. store size: 10,000 sq. ft.Rx sales: $111 million% of sales from Rx: 83%Sales per store: $5.35 millionSource: Company reports

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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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