NCPA posts new ‘Phil Mypockets’ video satirizing PBMs
ALEXANDRIA, Va. — Some common patient complaints regarding mail-order pharmacies and their captive consumers’ lack of choice to switch to another pharmacy if they encounter poor service are highlighted in a new video released Wednesday by the National Community Pharmacists Association.
The short feature entitled “Mail Order Madness” touches on several concerns that patients have voiced to pharmacists and elsewhere regarding mail-order pharmacy: unsatisfactory customer service; wasteful “auto-shipping” of medication even when a prescription has changed or is no longer needed; and the wait for prescriptions to be processed and mailed (or sometimes lost in the mail or misdelivered).
The video is available for viewing at www.whorunsmydrugplan.com – NCPA’s website that educates health plan sponsors and patients about how the cost and value of their prescription benefit can be negatively impacted by middlemen known as pharmacy benefit managers, which often also own mail-order pharmacies.
“The point of this video is simple: Patients need and deserve the ability to choose a pharmacy in their health plan that best meets their needs and those of their family for quality, convenience and cost-effective care,” NCPA CEO Douglas Hoey said. “Surveys indicate that the vast majority of patients prefer to use a local pharmacy for a face-to-face health care experience. The choice of going to your local pharmacy or using mail-order pharmacy is a decision that should be left to patients because mail order is not for everyone. Unfortunately, mandatory mail-order plan designs limit patients to one pharmacy. Unlike a community pharmacy where patients can ‘vote with their feet,’ mail order’s captive customers have no ability to go anywhere else.”
Survey: Retailers focusing on mobile site optimization and in-store technologies
DENVER, Colo. — Retailers remain conservative when it comes to financial investments in mobile and tablet initiatives despite the industry buzz, according to a survey by Shop.org and Forrester Research.
In the "2012 State Of Retailing Online" survey, 50% of the retailers surveyed said they spent less than $100,000 on smartphone investments in 2011, and 74% spent the same on tablet initiatives. One year later, the numbers remain conservative, but companies are increasing their investments: On average retailers plan to invest $207,000 in 2012, compared with an average of $55,000 spent in 2011.
"It’s easy to forget that mobile retailing is still in its infancy, and unlike what we saw with e-commerce 10 short years ago, mobile is almost entirely consumer-driven," Shop.org executive director Vicki Cantrell said. "As mobile grows, so too will retailers’ investments in technologies that make sense for their shopper, but to get to that level of commitment, retailers must first take smart, calculated steps to maximize the mobile shopping experience both now and in the future."
The survey also found that more retailers have entered the playing field over the last year. In fiscal year 2011, 18% of those surveyed said their company made no investment in tablet initiatives and 14% said the same for smartphone initiatives. In 2012 only 9% of companies said they will make no investments for tablet or smartphones.
The report finds that, as part of their mobile investments, retailers also are focusing on in-store technologies, such as mobile point-of-sale and perfecting site optimization features for smartphone- and tablet-touting shoppers. According to the survey, 45% of companies already have or are planning to implement e-receipts in their stores in the next two years, and 57% said they have or will have mobile point-of-sale options for their stores within the next two years.
With the majority of retailers’ Web traffic coming from Web browsers, even when a mobile app exists and is promoted, retailers are focusing on mobile site optimization features as a more cost-effective solution than building apps. Six-in-10 (60%) companies surveyed said they have a special mobile site that is optimized for Web browsers.
When asked what their company’s greatest internal challenges are as they relate to deploying and managing their mobile initiatives, the answers run deep. Six-in-10 (60%) said their business objectives for mobile initiatives are unclear and another 4-in-10 (40%) said a lack of experience in other areas such as designing for smartphone and tablet formats are presenting challenges.
Additionally, 36% said obtaining adequate budget for mobile initiatives, including staff, is a top concern.
"While consumers are rapidly adopting smartphones and tablets, and there is no shortage of companies eager to provide mobile offerings to retailers," Forrester Research VP and principal analyst Sucharita Mulpuru said. "Retail executives are taking a measured view of the immediate benefits of these efforts — in part because of the myriad of challenges that must be considered when investing in mobile for their company."
Meijer’s Simply Give Week garners more than $400K in donations
GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. — Meijer’s Simply Give Week garnered more than $145,000 in donations from its customers. The effort, combined with the commitment from Meijer to double all donations made Sept. 2 to 8, brought the week’s total donation to $437,400, Meijer co-chairman Hank Meijer said.
Meijer launched Simply Give Week to support Hunger Action Month in September and highlights its continuing commitment to hunger relief.
"We were hoping Simply Give week would generate excitement to help support our food pantry partners, and our customers and team members supported us in a big way," Meijer said. "This week’s donation far surpassed our single most successful week of $60,000 in donations. The great generosity of our customers and team members is a source of inspiration for all of us. We cannot thank them enough."
Although the double match has concluded, customers can still donate to the fall Simply Give campaign, which runs through Oct. 6.
"This is a huge win for our food pantry partners, who aggressively engaged the community to help every $10 donation stretch even farther," Meijer EVP retail operations Janet Emerson said. "It’s very rewarding to work with so many food pantries whose dedication to food-giving is unwavering."
Meijer donates more than 6% of its net profits each year to a variety of charitable organizations, including food pantries through Simply Give. The Simply Give program runs three times each year for approximately 10 weeks.