HEALTH

J.D. Power and Associates’ pharmacy study addresses cost, customer service

BY Allison Cerra

WESTLAKE VILLAGE, Calif. J.D. Power and Associates’ release of its annual national pharmacy study on Wednesday underscored customers’ sensitivity to cost issues, despite out-of-pocket pharmacy costs virtually remaining unchanged from last year, the global marketing information services company said.

The study, which examined customer satsifaction rates in chain drug stores, mass merchandisers, supermarkets and mail-order pharmacies, found that cost competitiveness accounted for 24% of overall satisfaction among brick-and-mortar customers (versus 10% in 2009) and for 41% among mail-order customers (versus 19% in 2009).

J.D. Power and Associates did point out, however, that customer service did outweigh saving money among respondents.

Based on national average spending by pharmacy customers, a highly satisfied customer may generate $227 in additional prescription revenue each year, J.D. Power and Associates noted.

 

"Consumers are spending more on healthcare expenses in general due to various employer-implemented changes in insurance coverage. High-performing pharmacies aren’t necessarily those with the lowest prices. Rather, pharmacies that are focused on service garner the highest levels of satisfaction. Customer service still trumps price, even in an environment where cost has become increasingly important," said Jim Dougherty, director of the healthcare practice at J.D. Power and Associates.

 

The highest-ranked businesses included Good Neighbor Pharmacy (869-out-of-1,000 points) for the chain drug sector, Target pharmacies (848-out-of-1,000 points) for mass, Publix pharmacies (862-out-of-1,000 points) for supermarkets and Kaiser Permanente mail-order pharmacies (854-out-of-1,000 points).

The 2010 U.S. national pharmacy study was based on responses from more than 12,300 customers who filled a new prescription or refilled a prescription during the three months prior to the survey period. The study was fielded between May and June.

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Loveable book character now in gummy vitamins

BY Michael Johnsen

SAN CLEMENTE, Calif. Hero Nutritional Products on Tuesday announced the launch of "Clifford, The Big Red Dog" gummy vitamins for children.

"Hero Nutritionals shares a common goal with Scholastic, the publisher of ‘Clifford, The Big Red Dog,’ a well-loved children’s icon for 50 years," stated Jennifer Hodges, Hero Nutritional Products CEO. "Clifford promotes good citizenship, manners and education, and Hero Nutritional Products promotes wellness and nutrition, both providing the building blocks for normal healthy growth and development. … Hero’s goal of promoting health goes hand in hand with Clifford’s 10 ‘Be Big’ ideas.”

 

"Clifford, The Big Red Dog" gummy vitamins have high levels of folic acid and zinc and contain 100% of the recommended children’s daily amount of vitamin D per serving, and contain natural vitamin E and vitamin C. The gummy vitamins also have omega oils made with cranberry seeds for healthy normal development of children.

 

 

"Clifford, The Big Red Dog" gummy vitamins will be available in food, drug, grocery and mass merchandise stores including Target, Walgreens, Lewis Drug and Rite Aid.

 

 

A50-count (25 serving) bottle retails for a suggested $7.99 and will come in two multivitamin + brain health varieties including the original multi-fruit flavor and a new sweet and tart sour flavor. Special promotions can be found on the Clifford vitamin website.

 

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FDA approves multiple sclerosis drug Gilenya

BY Alaric DeArment

SILVER SPRING, Md. The Food and Drug Administration has approved a drug for reducing relapses in patients with multiple sclerosis.

 

The FDA announced Wednesday the approval of Swiss drug maker Novartis’ Gilenia (fingolimod) capsules, saying it was the first oral drug that can slow the progression of disability in patients with MS and offered an alternative to injected drugs.

 

 

Around 400,000 people in the United States and 2.1 million worldwide have MS, according to the National Multiple Sclerosis Society.

 

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