PHARMACY

Home care provider ResCare signs agreement to use Walgreens’ prescription packaging service DailyMed

BY Michael Johnsen

LOUISVILLE, Ky. — Home care provider ResCare HomeCare on Tuesday announced that it has signed a national affiliation agreement with Walgreens as the national drug store chain rolls out its DailyMed by Walgreens prescription service.

DailyMed by Walgreens offers a safe and effective way for patients to organize and keep track of multiple medications, with individual, pre-sorted packets that indicate date and time certain medications are scheduled to be taken. A service designed for some seniors and other patients with complex prescription regimens, DailyMed provides a 30-day supply of certain medications, with sealed and clearly marked packets that eliminate the need to sort through multiple prescriptions with different daily dosages and timing.

The daily management of medications can become a challenge to seniors. As the number of prescriptions they need increases, the possibility of missing a dosage also goes up. “Our ultimate goal is to drive down the cost of health care while helping seniors maintain their independence and good health for as long as possible,” stated Ralph Gronefeld, Jr., ResCare president and CEO. 

ResCare HomeCare provides seniors in-home services so they can stay in their own homes longer. The services include personal supports, homemaking, respite and companion care.

Under the affiliation agreement, Walgreens will feature ResCare HomeCare education materials with its DailyMed by Walgreens products. ResCare HomeCare employees will discuss DailyMed with their clients as part of a range of services the company offers to help people live more independently.

The program will roll out in California in January 2013 and expand throughout the country during the year.


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PHARMACY

Ernst & Young report forecasts more difficult M&A environment for pharma companies

BY Alaric DeArment

SAN FRANCISCO — While pressure to grow will drive more large drug makers to pursue mergers and acquisitions, diminished resources and competition from biotech and specialty pharmaceutical companies will challenge their ability to do so, according to a new report.

The report, by Ernst & Young, looked at the 16 largest drug companies based in the United States, Europe and Japan, as measured by revenue, finding that a slowdown in emerging markets inhibiting their ability to pursue sales there would widen what it called the "growth gap." Comparing IMS Health’s forecast for the global drug maker and industry analysts’ estimates over the next five years, the Ernst & Young report found that the growth gap would reach about $100 billion by 2015, meaning that it would need an additional $100 billion in revenue that year to keep up with overall market growth.

Slowing growth in developed markets has put sources of organic growth under pressure, the report found, which will likely prompt acceleration in M&A activity this year, but such deals will become harder due to less available operating cash because of slower sales growth — the result of pressure on drug pricing — and increased borrowing to fund higher dividends, stock repurchases and other expenses. E&Y found that the financial capacity for large drug companies to conduct such deals declined by 23% between 2006 and 2012. Meanwhile, the capacity of biotech and specialty pharmaceutical companies — including generic drug makers — has increased by 61% and 20%, respectively. All the while, big drug makers’ share of the combined acquisition capacity among the three industry segments has fallen from 85% to 75% over the past six years.

The report predicts more divestitures of various assets by drug companies and more deals offshore and in emerging markets.


 

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PHARMACY

More adoption of technology could drive retail pharmacy customer loyalty, report finds

BY Alaric DeArment

TORONTO — More than half of U.S. consumers would not recommend a particular pharmacy to family and friends, according to a new report by a Canadian customer experience management firm.

According to the report, by Empathica, scheduled for release later this week, the 60% of consumers who would not recommend a pharmacy indicate that most consumers do not have a loyal relationship with any one chain or mass retail pharmacy despite what the firm called a "promising future" for the industry, with more than three-fifths of surveyed consumers saying they would not cut pharmacy spending regardless of the economy.

The report attributed the lack of customer engagement to a slow adoption of technology by pharmacies. Empathica said online prescription drug sales are expected to grow at a faster rate than in-store sales, but 40% of pharmacies don’t have an online presence, and among those that do, half of customers are unaware of web offerings, while less than 20% have received information or offers promoting them.

"Three-in-four customers still place and fill their prescription orders in-store," Empathica CEO Gary Edwards said. "This highlights both the lack of online pharmacy services and a low level of awareness among customers about existing services. There is no doubt that consumers are performing an increasing number of activities online — pharmacies need to get there and take advantage of digital rewards and online marketing to attract and retain customers."

Baby boomers were more likely to take advantage of online prescription services, accounting for 36% of those who manage prescriptions online, compared with 20% who are Millennials. Of the 25% of consumers who fill and manage prescriptions online, most use mobile health applications and said their pharmacies should use similar apps, but 75% of all customers reported not knowing whether such apps were available.

Empathica also found loyalty programs represented an area of improvement as core pharmacy services become commoditized. The report found that only 40% of customers were "highly committed" subscribers to loyalty programs at their primary pharmacy, with an even lower rate of 32% in mass-retail settings; 30% of consumers indicated they were always aware of coupons at pharmacies and mass retailers.

"Our research shows that customers that always use loyalty programs are almost twice as likely to advocate their primary pharmacy to friends and family when compared to non-loyalty program subscribers," Edwards said, citing respective figures of 64% and 36%. "Pharmacies that do not offer loyalty programs or targeted promotions miss an opportunity to turn customers into loyal customers and advocates."

Edwards suggested that mass retailers with pharmacies should offer "compelling" promotions and use marketing tactics like in-store coupons to take advantage of their price advantage.

"For bargain-hunting customers, promotions really help drive behavioral loyalty," Edwards said. "For chain pharmacies that cannot compete on price alone, loyalty programs give customers an incentive for returning and set them apart from other pharmacy chains that, according to our research, are often not leveraging these programs and promotions with consumers. These programs provide a powerful reason for price-conscious consumers to keep coming back."

 


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