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InformationWeek: Walgreens leads all retailers in utilizing technology

BY Michael Johnsen

DEERFIELD, Ill. — Walgreens on Wednesday announced that it ranked 29th on this year’s InformationWeek 500, a list of the top technology innovators in the United States. Additionally, Walgreens was the highest-ranked company in the retail/general merchandising category. The annual list was unveiled at last night’s InformationWeek 500 conference in California.

Walmart was the only other mass retailer listed in the top 100 with its ranking of 63. Procter & Gamble (ranked No. 8) and Colgate-Palmolive (No. 50), were the only consumer packaged goods companies to crack the top 100.

This marks the first time that Walgreens has been ranked in the top 30 by the magazine; last year, it was ranked 153 overall and third among those in retail/general merchandising last year.

“This is great recognition for the innovative technology work we’ve done to position Walgreens at the forefront of the changing healthcare industry,” stated Tim Theriault, Walgreens chief information officer. “With an expanding suite of healthcare services, our IT organization is developing a platform for the future as part of Walgreens’ mission to be a leading destination for health and daily living needs.”

Walgreens’ IT team recently began Walgreens 2.0, a multiyear initiative to enhance the company’s technology infrastructure across multiple platforms, including its network of more than 7,700 stores. The project comprises several key components, including:

  • New data center — the new center will feature new technology and bring added capacity, Walgreens reported;

  • Scalable healthcare platform – connecting data across the Walgreens network that leverages new technology to support and further the company’s transformation as a health and daily living destination;

  • Next-generation store technology — new store applications, technology and point-of-sale systems to enhance customer service and the overall shopping experience for customers; and

  • Internal technology enhancements — email, Web conferencing and mobile upgrades to improve productivity and efficiency.

The InformationWeek 500 rankings are unique among corporate rankings as it spotlights the power of innovation in information technology, rather than identifying the largest IT spenders, Walgreens noted.

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NACDS applauds bipartisan bills that seek to preserve patient pharmacy choice

BY Antoinette Alexander

ALEXANDRIA, Va. — The National Association of Chain Drug Stores on Wednesday sent letters to U.S. Sen. Mark Pryor, D-Ark., and U.S. Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers, R-Wash., applauding their sponsorship of companion legislation that seeks to preserve pharmacy choice for patients.

The bipartisan Pharmacy Competition and Consumer Choice Act (H.R. 1971 and S. 1058) seeks to address concerns about some pharmacy benefit management tactics and includes provisions related to transparency, the frequency of updating maximum allowable cost pricing, networks, audits, use of data and forced use of a PBM’s own mail-order pharmacy.

“This legislation will protect American consumers and the pharmacies that serve them from corporate middlemen known as PBMs. Despite their claims to the contrary, PBMs drive up prescription drug costs, restrict consumers’ choice of pharmacy [and] use gimmicks to delay payments to pharmacies,” NACDS stated in its letter.

“The PBMs’ anti-competitive and abusive practices are key components of skyrocketing healthcare costs … such as switching patients to more expensive drugs in order to reap huge ‘rebates’ from drug makers. PBMs favor brand-name drugs over generics for the same reason; in fact, PBM mail-order pharmacies dispense cost-saving generics much less often than neighborhood pharmacies.”

NACDS thanked both lawmakers for their commitment to pharmacy choice and access, stating, “This is important legislation that will help many people both in your state [and] across America. Pharmacies and their patients have been pushed around by the PBMs for far too long, and this bill is long overdue.”

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Rite Aid offers diabetes consultations, MTM with Diabetes Prevention and Control Alliance

BY Alaric DeArment

CAMP HILL, Pa. — Customers with diabetes at Rite Aid locations in New York and Washington will have access to patient education and support from trained pharmacists to help them better control their disease, the retail pharmacy chain said.

Rite Aid announced Wednesday that it had joined the Diabetes Prevention and Control Alliance, an initiative created by UnitedHealth Group to fight the diabetes, prediabetes and obesity epidemics. The program is available at some Rite Aid stores in Brooklyn, Queens and the Bronx in New York and will be available at stores in Washington in mid-October. Pharmacists will consult quarterly with enrolled patients to evaluate their medication adherence and review their test results for blood pressure, blood glucose and cholesterol.

"Diabetes is taking a staggering toll on the health of our country," Rite Aid EVP pharmacy Robert Thompson said. "By participating in the Diabetes Prevention and Control Alliance, Rite Aid is able to offer participating patients the benefit of one-on-one counseling from a Rite Aid pharmacists specifically trained in diabetes care and medication therapy management. This type of care has been proven to better manage diabetes and improve overall health, lowering healthcare costs in the long run."

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Jan-22-2013 05:58 am

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