PHARMACY

Kmart emphasizes flu shots at its pharmacies

BY Allison Cerra

HOFFMAN ESTATES, Ill. — Kmart on Monday implemented a discounted offer on flu shots to those who have not yet been vaccinated.

Kmart said it is offering customers $15 flu shots, while supplies last, and also will offer 15,000 points (a $15 value) to members of its Shop Your Way Rewards loyalty program, when a vaccination is purchased.

The flu shots are available at more than 500 Kmart Pharmacy locations and are administered by trained practitioners.

"As Kmart Pharmacy gears up to provide customers with additional influenza immunizations, we want to remind people that the virus is easily transferable, and the best and easiest way to prevent the flu is by getting an annual vaccination," said Robb Ayshford, divisional VP pharmacy administration for Kmart. "For those seeking more information about influenza, our staff of knowledgeable on-site Kmart pharmacists is also available to answer flu or other health-related questions on how to help combat illness as the season progresses."

To learn more about hours of operation or to find the nearest location, call 1-800-822-8345 or visit Kmart.com/pharmacy.

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PHARMACY

CVS flexes healthcare muscles

BY Antoinette Alexander

WHAT IT MEANS AND WHY IT’S IMPORTANT — The news that CVS Caremark’s Pharmacy Advisor program has been recognized by the Pharmacy Benefit Management Institute is yet one more illustration of how the company has positioned itself along the front lines to leverage its various points of care to improve outcomes and lower healthcare costs.

(THE NEWS: CVS Caremark saluted for Pharmacy Advisor program. For the full story, click here)

The program integrates the benefits of the PBM and the retail pharmacy to identify and counsel members about gaps in care and adherence issues. Member outreach includes educational information, pharmacist-initiated phone calls or face-to-face counseling with a pharmacist at a local CVS/pharmacy.

Identifying gaps in care and improving medication adherence clearly has been a significant focus for the company, and understandably so when looking at the stats: Nonadherence to medications costs the healthcare system up to $290 billion a year because many of the hospitalizations can be avoided if people take prescriptions as doctors direct.

Furthermore, the findings of a CVS Caremark study issued earlier this year found that patients with one or more of four chronic diseases who take medications as doctors direct may save the healthcare system as much as $7,800 per patient annually. The study findings revealed robust reductions in ER visits and in-patient hospital days from medication adherence, and by avoiding those costly events, there were substantial savings in overall health care costs.

Through such initiatives as its Pharmacy Advisor program, CVS Caremark continues to demonstrate the important role that retail pharmacy plays in U.S. health care.

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Annual NACDS event will bring healthcare issues to light

BY Antoinette Alexander

WHAT IT MEANS AND WHY IT’S IMPORTANT — As one retail pharmacy executive put it, "many members of Congress only experience the pharmacy industry through their eyes as a patient." Thanks to NACDS RxImpact Day on Capitol Hill, however, that no longer has to be the case.

(THE NEWS: NACDS RxImpact Day 2011 takes aim at new lawmakers. For the full story, click here)

RxImpact brings hundreds of advocates from across the nation to Washington, D.C., to educate members of Congress on the key role that retail pharmacy plays in the U.S. healthcare system, and it delivers a powerful message about the link between pharmacy services and the health improvements and cost savings that occur when patients take their medications as directed by a physician.

There’s no doubt that NACDS RxImpact Day is an important event for the industry, as involvement demonstrates dedication to advancing pharmacy and quality patient services. The more community pharmacy participates in RxImpact Day, the more Congress will understand pharmacy and its position on vital health policy issues.

With medication nonadherence-related costs weighing heavily on the already-strained U.S. healthcare system, and 112 new members in Congress, one could argue that it couldn’t be a more critical time for pharmacy leaders to take advantage of the event.

According to NACDS, citing data from the New England Healthcare Institute, it is estimated that $290 billion are spent each year due to medication nonadherence. This amount — which accounts for 13% of all healthcare expenditures — includes such preventable and more expensive forms of care as physician appointments and emergency room visits.

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