PHARMACY

Health Mart hits critical mass

BY DSN STAFF

SAN FRANCISCO —Chances are good that there’s a Health Mart in your community. Some four years after its reinvention as a cutting-edge, market-savvy pharmacy franchiser by owner McKesson, the hard-driving independent drug store network now operates in all 50 states and comprises one of the largest and fastest-growing pharmacy brands in America. With guidance from McKesson VP and Health Mart president Tim Canning, and a team of experienced marketing and merchandising hands, Health Mart has come a long way from its days as a dormant, 300-store remnant of the old FoxMeyer wholesale drug network purchased by McKesson in the early 1990s.

In January, Health Mart surged past another milestone when Trudell Health Mart Pharmacy in Dearborn, Mich., became the 2,500th independent pharmacy to join the franchise. That marks an 850% jump in store count over the past four years, according to McKesson.

“We joined Health Mart to take advantage of the innovative marketing, operational and patient care programs available. Then we found out we were the 2,500th pharmacy to go blue and green, which is exciting because we just celebrated 80 years of serving the community,” said Trudell owner Tom Fakih.

Among the reasons Trudell joined the franchise, Fakih said, were “new services and programs that help us better care for, educate and inform our patients,” including Health Mart’s recent “Health Across America” campaign to test people for diabetes risk.

To maintain its growth momentum, Health Mart has begun leveraging its national scale and reach. Early this year, the chain launched a national TV ad campaign tied to such major events as the Super Bowl, the Winter Olympic Games and the Academy Awards.

“Being ranked highest in customer satisfaction by J.D. Power and Associates, coupled with our growth to 2,500 pharmacies, is a further demonstration of Health Mart’s commitment to the local Health Mart pharmacists,” Canning said.

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Late-stage clinical trial of Avastin fails to meet expectations, Genentech says

BY Alaric DeArment

SOUTH SAN FRANCISCO, Calif. A late-stage clinical trial of a Genentech drug for men with late-stage prostate cancer has failed, the biotech company announced Friday.

Genentech, part of Swiss drug maker Roche, announced that a phase 3 trial of Avastin (bevacizumab) combined with prednisone and the chemotherapy drug docetaxel did not extend the amount of time that patients survived, compared with chemotherapy and prednisone alone.

The drug already has approval from the Food and Drug Administration for treating tumors and cancers of the lungs, colon, rectum, breasts, kidneys and brain.

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Abbott’s submits supplemental approval application for Lupron Depot to FDA

BY Alaric DeArment

ABBOTT PARK, Ill. Abbott is hoping that the Food and Drug Administration will approve one of its drugs as a treatment for advanced prostate cancer.

The Chicago-based drug maker announced Thursday that the FDA accepted its supplemental approval application for Lupron Depot (leuprolide acetate) in the 45-mg strength. The drug, an injectable, works by suppressing production of testosterone for six months. It is currently available in 7.5-mg, 22.5-mg and 30-mg formulations that work for one, three and four months.

“For many patients with advanced prostate cancer, Lupron Depot is an important treatment option because it can help manage the symptoms of their disease,” Abbott VP global pharmaceutical development Eugene Sun said in a statement. “Abbott is seeking approval for a new six-month formulation to provide greater convenience and dosing flexibility to physicians and patients who could benefit form this medication.”

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