PHARMACY

Genzyme’s board recommends shareholders OK Sanofi offer

BY Alaric DeArment

CAMBRIDGE, Mass. — The board of directors of Genzyme unanimously recommended that shareholders accept French drug maker Sanofi-Aventis’ $74-per-share buyout offer, Genzyme said Monday.

Genzyme recently accepted Sanofi’s $20.1 billion offer for the Cambridge, Mass.-based biotech company. Sanofi had sought to buy the company since last July, when it offered $18.5 billion, or $69 per share.

Genzyme specializes in treatments for rare genetic diseases, such as Fabry disease and Gaucher disease. It also is banking on a new multiple sclerosis drug, Lemtrade (alemtuzumab).

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PHARMACY

Pharmacy Saver at center of Hy-Vee’s wellness business

BY Alaric DeArment

Few supermarkets make health and wellness as central to their business as Hy-Vee, a West Des Moines, Iowa-based chain.

In December 2010, the chain announced it would become one of a number of retailers — including Kroger and Safeway — to participate in Pharmacy Saver, a new program offered in collaboration with UnitedHealthcare, the country’s largest Medicare Part D insurer. The program was launched, in part, as a response to the Humana Walmart-Preferred Rx Plan, launched in late September 2010.

Pharmacy Saver offers 366 commonly prescribed generic drugs to select Medicare beneficiaries for as little as $2, and is offered on top of Hy-Vee’s generic discount program, which offers generic prescriptions for $4 for 30-day supplies and $10 for 90-day supplies.

Pharmacy Saver adds to Hy-Vee’s growing list of pharmacy offerings, including the chain’s partnership with Omaha, Neb.-based Amber Pharmacy to offer specialty pharmacy services that also would take advantage of Hy-Vee’s ability to offer diet and nutrition services. The service, called Hy-Vee Pharmacy Solutions, offers phone service, personal care coordinators and the option of having specialty medications made available for pickup at a Hy-Vee pharmacy or delivery to a patient’s home, office or other location.

Healthy eating is another area where Hy-Vee has staked out a niche. It marked February as American Heart Month with a special advertising circular that contained nutrition information, shopping tips and heart-healthy recipes from Hy-Vee chefs.

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Building Lone Star loyalty, the H-E-B way

BY Jim Frederick

Not many retail companies would give their customers a vote on how they design their new stores. It’s just one of many ways that H-E-B works to cultivate millions of loyal consumers.

The pharmacy is a focal point for those efforts. VP pharmacy Craig Norman and other pharmacy leaders have turned those large-scale drug store departments into a center not only for one of the largest prescription businesses in the Lone Star state, but also for a growing menu of health and prevention services. H-E-B’s pharmacists, for example, provide one of the most active vaccination programs in the state for influenza, shingles, pneumonia, meningitis and other conditions.

The chain also conducts an extensive health screenings program around such disease states as diabetes. Last year, H-E-B performed about 100,000 screenings in its stores.

Those efforts dovetail with the chain’s “Fully Fit” store-branding program, which provides icons right on packaging to identify healthy food choices throughout the store.

Customers also can access a range of discounts and wellness offerings via the H-E-B Rx Rewards Platinum card. A one-time enrollment fee of $5, which covers every member of a household, guarantees Rx Rewards cardholders discounts on all branded and generic medications — including 500 generics at a 30-day price of $5 and a 90-day prescription rate of $9.99 — as well as discounts on immunizations and pet medicines, a free inControl No Coding starter kit for diabetic patients, free health screenings and free prenatal vitamins.

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