PHARMACY

NACDS, NCPA weigh in on CMS administrator nomination

BY Allison Cerra

ALEXANDRIA, Va. Two pharmacy groups are responding to President Obama’s nomination of Donald Berwick to the post of administrator of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services.

The National Association of Chain Drug Stores and the National Community Pharmacists Association both released statements on Tuesday commending Berwick’s nomination and look forward to “working constructively with him.” Both groups said they hope Berwick shares their commitment to healthcare quality and improved patient health. Berwick, a healthcare industry veteran, currently is the president and CEO of the Institute of Healthcare Improvement, in addition to a clinical professor at both Harvard’s Medical School and School of Public Health.

“Particularly as much of the focus on healthcare reform now will shift to the executive branch, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services will play a major role in issues that affect peoples’ lives, and the ability of healthcare providers to improve public health. On key pharmacy issues that have been rightfully included in healthcare reform, NACDS is eager to engage in this process,” said NACDS president and CEO Steve Anderson.

Since Medicare and Medicaid makes up approximately 40% of the average community pharmacy’s revenue, NCPA said, policies developed by CMS influence the 23,000 community pharmacies it represents.

“If CMS administrator-designate Berwick is confirmed, NCPA is committed to working constructively with him,” said NCPA EVP and CEO Bruce Roberts. “We want to continue offering practical solutions to ensure Medicare and Medicaid are efficient, effective and maintain longstanding patient-community pharmacist relationships. When that occurs pharmacists can be focused on using their expertise to improve the quality of patient care, while reducing medical spending in federal health programs.”

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Report: Kroger seeks to expand The Little Clinic business

BY Antoinette Alexander

CINCINNATI Kroger views its in-store health clinic business, The Little Clinic, as an important part of its commitment to health and wellness, and is in the midst of developing an expansion plan, according to a local report.

 

"It is part of our long-term plan," Kroger spokeswoman Meghan Glynn was quoted as saying in a Cincinnati Enquirer article. "Customers more and more are focused on health, fitness and wellness, especially with rising healthcare costs."

 

 

There are currently 80 Little Clinics inside select Kroger stores nationwide. The relationship between Kroger and the clinic operator began in 2003 when Kroger opened its first Little Clinic in a Kroger store in Louisville, Ky. In February, Kroger acquired The Little Clinic for, according to the news report, a price tag of $86 million.

 

 

Kroger had declined to comment on how it might change the business model or growth Little Clinic brand going forward.

 

 

As previously reported by Drug Store News, Michael Stoll, former VP corporate benefits for Kroger, was recently named CEO of The Little Clinic.

 

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Analyst upgrades AmerisourceBergen, deems company top drug distributor

BY Michael Johnsen

NEW YORK Boasting more than 3,600 Good Neighbor Pharmacy banners under its independent network has helped push AmerisourceBergen ahead of its wholesaler competitors, prompting a Goldman Sachs analyst to name ABC his top pick among pharmaceutical distribution companies on Friday, according to an Associated Press report.

Because of that large network of independents, Goldman Sachs’ Robert Jones believes ABC stands to benefit the most from the number of generic drugs that will enter the marketplace over the next few years. Jones suggested ABC would get a “larger boost than its competitors” because the wholesaler has greater exposure across its independent affiliates as compared with its pharmacy chain customers.

Jones kept a “Buy” rating on AmerisourceBergen, with a price target of $35 per share, while downgrading Cardinal Health to “Neutral” from “Buy” and maintaining a “Neutral” rating on McKesson Corp, the AP reported.

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