Filling the need for specialty Rx
With the rise in people diagnosed with complex illnesses like cancers, multiple sclerosis, rheumatoid arthritis, hepatitis, Crohn’s disease and rare genetic disorders, the need for specialty pharmacies to deal with the complex drug regimens they require will rise as well.
Hy-Vee made waves two years ago when it signed a deal with Omaha, Neb.-based specialty provider Amber Pharmacy to create Hy-Vee Pharmacy Solutions, which offers specialty pharmacy services through Hy-Vee’s retail stores. In September, Wellmark Blue Cross and Blue Shield named Hy-Vee Pharmacy Solutions as its preferred provider of specialty pharmacy benefits for members.
“Hy-Vee Pharmacy Solutions’ customized patient programs, clinical expertise and dedication to customer service will allow Wellmark to deliver high-quality specialty pharmacy benefits while effectively managing costs,” Wellmark pharmacy director Matt Hosford said.
Fighting obesity through education
Obesity has risen dramatically across the United States in the last 30 years, and according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, more than one-third of the U.S. population is obese, including 17% of children and adolescents.
But one supermarket-pharmacy chain is doing its part to address the problem, especially among the young. Since early last year, Giant-Carlisle has been sponsoring a series of childhood obesity forums around the markets it serves in Pennsylvania and Virginia to discuss the problem and how to combat it.
The first happened in Willow Grove, Pa., and brought together physicians from the community and Philadelphia, the in-store nutritionist from the local Giant store, and officials from local nonprofits and the school district. Similar events followed in Harrisburg, Pa., and at a Martin’s Food Markets store in Richmond, Va.
Driving prevention with screenings
A lot of retailers offer screenings for everything from diabetes to allergies, but what sets Sam’s Club apart is the scale on which it delivers them. The club retailer offers screenings for everything from heart health and women’s health to diabetes. In a recent interview with Drug Store News, director of business development for health and wellness Angie Muldoon said that the company had conducted more than 1 million screenings in 2011.
“It’s everything from glucose to blood pressure to cholesterol, and then with that information, [members] can make the right decisions for their own health,” Muldoon said. “Our screening events are available not only to our members, but to the general public. We do that because we think it’s important to drive awareness of their own individual health, whether they’re a member or not, and then also to drive awareness of our OTC, pharmacy and [health and beauty aid] areas.”