HEALTH

Kmart rewarding pharmacy customers with $1 promotion on OTC medicines

BY Jim Frederick

HOFFMAN ESTATES , Ill. Kmart is launching a new promotion that rewards its pharmacy customers with low-cost over-the-counter medications for every prescription they have filled at one of its pharmacies.

Under the new American Fare Dollar Program, pharmacy customers can choose from 10 OTC medications from Kmart’s proprietary American Fare brand for a cost of $1 with every prescription purchase. OTC medications in the program include aspirin, ibuprofen, children’s pain reliever, baby aspirin, nasal decongestant, cough suppressant, anti-diarrhea medication and cold and allergy tablets.

“We’re always looking for ways to provide more value … especially when healthcare costs are generally on the rise,” said Mark Doerr, vice president of Kmart Pharmacy. “The American Fare Dollar Program rewards our pharmacy customers with an amazing deal and introduces them to our great private-label OTC products at the same time.”

The discount chain, a division of Sears Holdings Corp., unveiled the program in its Florida pharmacies Friday. The promotion will roll to all Kmart pharmacies in April, the company reported. All of the $1 American Fare products, which are specially labeled, will be available behind the pharmacy counter. Regular-priced versions of the 10 American Fare products in the program will continue to be available on store shelves.

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CHPA objects to FDA adverse event guidances

BY Michael Johnsen

WASHINGTON The Consumer Healthcare Products Association submitted comments earlier this week that called for the withdrawal of the Food and Drug Administration’s companion draft guidances concerning adverse event report labeling for over-the-counter medicines marketed without approved applications and for dietary supplements as required by the Dietary Supplement and Nonprescription Drug Consumer Protection Act, the association announced Friday through its online newsletter.

The draft documents, issued in the Jan. 2 Federal Register, “purport to require inclusion of either a full U.S. mailing address or a phone number on non-new drug application OTC medicine and dietary supplement labels,” CHPA stated. The guidances also recommend that labels include language that drew attention to the address for purposes of reporting adverse events, as opposed to simply providing the contact information and affording the consumer to call with any questions or complements.

The association stated it does not agree with the agency’s conclusion that the underlying statute requires a full mailing address, arguing that there is nothing in the new law that requires manufacturers to deviate from the traditional approach of using city, state and zip code.

Second, CHPA stated that even if the agency’s interpretation of an address requirement is correct, a draft guidance is an inappropriate means to announce a binding conclusion. The association said that the agency should instead use the notice and comment rulemaking process to establish new, enforceable responsibilities.

Finally, CHPA said that it believes the agency’s recommendation that the label should include prefatory language to draw attention to the address solely for purposes of reporting adverse events is misguided. The association pointed out that label contact information is there for consumers to use for any comment or question. Furthermore, the vast majority of consumer contacts have nothing to do with complaints, with possible adverse events comprising an even smaller subset of complaint contacts.

Under the drafts, FDA stated it would exercise enforcement discretion to allow re-labeling until Jan. 2, 2009.

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CHPA dextromethorphan awareness initiative a finalist in healthcare campaign awards

BY Michael Johnsen

WASHINGTON A grass roots online media campaign to raise awareness around the dangers of dextromethorphan abuse was a finalist for PRWeek’s Healthcare Campaign of the Year, the Consumer Healthcare Products Association, which sponsored the Five Moms online initiative with assistance of Edelman Public relations, announced Friday.

The awards ceremony took place March 6 in New York.

More than 900 entries were received this year. The Healthcare Campaign of the Year category also included CHPA member company GlaxoSmithKline Consumer Healthcare, for its OTC launch of alli. It was Weber Shandwick and the National Marrow Donor Program: 2007 Thanks Mom National Marrow Donor Drive, however, that won the 2008 award in this category.

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