PHARMACY

Kalorama outlines 5 reasons why retail clinics will change the face of health care

BY Michael Johnsen

ROCKVILLE, Md. — By their very existence, retail clinics could threaten and/or complement at least six parts of the healthcare system, according to a report from Kalorama Information published Thursday, which placed the number of retail clinics at 2,200 across the U.S. According to the report, the oftentimes one-person operations have had a direct impact on hospitals, doctor's offices, government and private insurance payers, vaccine companies, in vitro diagnostic companies and healthcare IT companies.  

"They deliver healthcare to customers where they are, where the rest of the healthcare system awaits patients," stated Bruce Carlson, publisher Kalorama Information.  "Ten years ago, the retail clinic concept was novel. Now, it's rare to hear a discussion of healthcare trends that doesn't include these clinics.  Everyone is thinking about how they can align to the trend."

Indeed, the retail clinic concept is brought up in nearly every discussion of healthcare, from cost-cutting for governments to methods for better preventive care.  

There are five ways Kalorama thinks disruption will happen, the report noted:

  1. They are a lower cost solution than the emergency room and can be used both to compete for insurance company business with high-cost ERs and also be used by healthcare organizations to reduce the traffic at the ER;
  2. As 85% of retail clinic patients have a physician that they have seen regularly, they are a potential boon to the doctor's office. They refer patients – even to the point of suggesting the patient obtain a primary care doctor – and don't provide all services;
  3. They are already a source of focus in the in vitro diagnostics industry, as major IVDs develop testing units for both retail and urgent care clinics;
  4. They are building consumer awareness and reputation in each additional year of their existence, which is now more than 15 years, with favorable waiting times and hours.  As the Kalorama report indicates, high satisfaction ratings are routinely earned; and
  5. They are at the forefront of electronic medical records and technology in healthcare, introducing EMR, billing innovation and virtual waiting room technology that physician offices are only slowly adopting to.

As an example of companies aligning to the trend, Kalorama noted that some hospitals are founding retail clinics to take pressure off ERs, or to gain patients.  Others are developing retail clinic-like policies of hours or appointments.  Still others are figuring out how they can gain referrals from the trend, or adjust the care they provide to patients to retail clinic customers.
 

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Allergan, Argentum reach Restasis settlement

BY Brian Berk

NEW YORK — Generic pharmaceutical manufacturer Argentum Pharmaceuticals announced that it has reached a settlement and license agreement with Allergan related to Argentum's generic version of Restasis (0.05% cyclosporine ophthalmic emulsion).

According to Argentum, the agreement generally provides that Argentum may commence marketing its generic equivalent product sometime prior to the expiration of the patents covering Restasis. The specific date on which Argentum may launch its generic product and other details concerning the settlement have not been disclosed.

Restasis and Restasis MultiDose Ophthalmic Emulsion help increase the eyes’ natural ability to produce tears, which may be reduced by inflammation due to Chronic Dry Eye, according to its manufacturer, Allergan.

The most common side effect is a temporary burning sensation. Other side effects include eye redness, discharge, watery eyes, eye pain, foreign body sensation, itching, stinging, and blurred vision.

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From health to digital: 7 big ideas from the FMI Midwinter Conference

BY David Orgel

Health and beauty care marketing needs to emphasize values. Disease prevention efforts need more emphasis. Holistic health is an opportunity waiting to be embraced. Those are just three of the ideas spotlighted at a senior leadership meeting for the supermarket industry, the Food Marketing Institute’s Midwinter Executive Conference.

The message at the Scottsdale, Ariz., event was that food retailers have an opportunity to further advance efforts with nutrition, pharmacy and related services, partly by forming innovative collaborations with partners. Other topics discussed included a race to attract millennial shoppers, the growing challenges with advertising and the increasing momentum for socially responsible strategies. Following are key takeaways from the event.

1. HBC needs value push
What if a store has great values but no one notices? That’s the challenge when it comes to food retailers and health and beauty care. “Grocery has great HBC values, but consumers don’t always realize that,” said Lisa Paley, chief customer officer at Pfizer Consumer Healthcare. “The mass and drug channels do great jobs telling consumers about value.”

Her advice to grocery retailers was as simple as it was direct: “The time is now to make the shift,” she emphasized. “Tell them about GM/HBC values like you do about food.”

2. Retail services spell opportunity
Grocery stores have made pharmacy an important part of their proposition, but now many food retailers want to grow their healthcare offerings further. “What is the next pharmacy?” asked Pfizer’s Paley. “Maybe it’s the nutritionist. How do you differentiate as a grocer with additional services?”

3. Disease prevention holds greater promise
There’s an opportunity for food retailers to increase their roles in supporting community health, said Leslie Sarasin, FMI’s president and CEO.

“Food retailers successfully playing in the health-and-wellness space are employing pharmacists, nutritionists, dietitians and, in some cases, even physicians and nurse practitioners,” she said. “… We can step up our positive role in the arena of preventive measures with immunizations, nutrition and diet counseling, and health clinics.”

Sarasin said the industry needs “innovative partnerships that meaningfully integrate food and nutrition into the consumers’ healthcare conversations.” The goal is for society to “transform our view of health care from being about disease management to a more constructive disease-prevention perspective.”

“While others in the country are busy pointing fingers, we need to get busy collaborating with healthcare professionals in new ways, providing our shoppers with health-and-wellness solutions,” she said.

4. Holistic health surges
Retailers not benefitting from the holistic health movement are missing out on a big trend. That’s the word from Sally Lyons Wyatt, EVP and practice leader at IRI. “There’s an increase in consumption of foods that can prevent or manage [such] disease states as heart conditions, cancer and diabetes,” she said. She pointed to increased consumption of citrus fruit by diabetics seeking to lower sugar and raise insulin levels.

Other examples include super foods that deliver protein, vitamins and minerals. “Consumers say they’re focusing on health through food, and we’re seeing it in trends we track at IRI,” she said.

Holistic health will continue to be strong over the next three to five years and will benefit retail businesses, she added.  

“Retailers will increase nutritional services to fuel holistic health. Manufacturers will need to partner with retailers. Consumer education will be important,” she said.

5. Millennials embrace pre-shopping
Reaching younger consumers hinges on finding them before the shopping trip.

That was an emphatic point from Pfizer’s Paley. “If we wait until they’re in the store to reach them, we’ll be too late,” she said. “They will be the pre-shop game changers. They determine what they need to know before they get into the store. So we need to engage them differently in the pre-shop part of their journey. Then we can look at the post-shop.”

6. Ad clutter challenging retailers
“There’s a surge in ad exposures that consumers see,” said IRI’s Wyatt. The challenge is to break through the clutter to reach consumers in meaningful ways, she said.

“Starbucks and CVS created their own apps,” she said. “On the CVS app you can order prescriptions and find deals. Retailers want to get to 1:1 personalization.”

7. Social responsibility drives sales
About 70% of FMI industry survey respondents pointed to social and environmental responsibility as a way to differentiate their businesses, according to Sarasin. “Our trends data and other research performed indicate these will continue to become crucial points in your game plan to establish, build and maintain customer loyalty,” she said.

Steven Ramsey, IRI’s EVP, said social responsibility isn’t just a commitment to do the right thing; it’s also a driver of sales. “Strong seafood sustainability programs sell more seafood,” he said. “Animal welfare innovation is noticed by customers.”

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