PHARMACY

The new old: Tisane Pharmacy blends European, American, past, present elements

BY Alaric DeArment

NEW YORK — One of the advantages to independent pharmacies’ small scale is their ability to forge their own identities and invent new store formats in a way that might be harder for a national or regional chain.

New York, with its famously competitive pharmacy market and diverse population, has long been a hotspot for new store formats, and one of the products of this dynamic environment is Tisane Pharmacy, located in Manhattan’s Upper East Side.

Pharmacy school classmates Inna Shafir and Yelena Yoffe opened the store on Labor Day with the idea of creating a pharmacy that emphasized natural care and comfort. Both also own pharmacies elsewhere in the city.

The store’s most visible feature is the cafe counter near the entrance, a feature that used to be common in American drug stores — which gave rise to the soda jerk — but has mostly disappeared. The cafe serves coffee, tea, pastries and sodas made with syrups dispensed from a glass apparatus that Shafir and Yoffe had to have a friend personally bring over from their native Russia. Another reason for the cafe is that it gives patients — or their kids — something to do while they’re waiting for prescriptions to be filled.

"What we try to achieve is a friendly environment," Yoffe told Drug Store News.

But another distinctive feature is the store’s focus on natural products, as well as hard-to-find brands imported from France, Germany, Poland, Israel and other countries. The store also carries a large selection of herbal teas, reflective of its name, which is a term for herbal tea.

"That’s what we both like, and that was the idea, to promote healthy teas," Yoffe said, recalling how when she would frequently get sick as a child, her grandmother would give her raspberry leaf tea to bring down her fevers.

"As much as the dynamic is characteristically American, it’s also reminiscent of Europe," cafe manager Ben Lundberg said. Lundberg and Yoffe said the cafe had become popular among people in the area, especially those trying to get away from the noise resulting from construction of New York’s 2nd Avenue subway. "It’s really turned into a neighborhood spot," Lundberg said.

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PHARMACY

NCPA submits comments to House committee debating H.R. 1946

BY Michael Johnsen

ALEXANDRIA, Va. — The National Community Pharmacists Association on Thursday submitted written comments to the U.S. House Judiciary Committee Subcommittee on Intellectual Property, Competition and the Internet hearing on H.R. 1946, the Preserving Our Hometown Independent Pharmacies Act, in support of the bill.

H.R. 1946, which was introduced by Rep. Tom Marino, R-Pa., allows independent community pharmacy owners to collectively negotiate the terms and conditions of contracts with pharmacy benefit managers. It now has more than 30 bipartisan co-sponsors, NCPA reported. The current system precludes collective negotiations, oftentimes forcing independent community pharmacies to either accept contract terms or be excluded from the pharmacy insurance networks patients use.

In its statement, NCPA describes the problem and why a solution is needed by saying, “While PBMs make record profits, independent pharmacies are being driven out of business, and patients and communities suffer. Ultimately, the cost of the imbalance of negotiating power is borne by us all — by patients, by employers, by health plans — both public and private — and by taxpayers. This legislation would be a response, among others, to this significant market imbalance and its enactment will benefit both consumers and competition.”
 
In addition, NCPA commended two of its members — Renardo Gray, owner of Westside Pharmacy of Detroit, and Mike James, owner of Person Street Pharmacy in Raleigh, N.C. — who testified in support of H.R. 1946.


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American Diabetes Association debuts new diabetes risk test

BY Allison Cerra

ALEXANDRIA, Va. — In line with the 24th annual American Diabetes Association Alert Day, the American Diabetes Association debuted its new and improved diabetes risk test.

Updated with a more sophisticated algorithm and available on Facebook, the test can be taken in less than a minute and easily shared with family, friends and loved ones, ADA said. The test requires users to answer simple questions about weight, age, family history and other potential risk factors for diabetes. Their results are reported as a numerical score indicating low or high risk for developing Type 2 diabetes. Those at higher risk are encouraged to speak with their healthcare provider to learn more about ways to help reduce their risk or delay onset of the disease.

In addition to Facebook, people can find this free test (in English or Spanish) by visiting stopdiabetes.com or calling 1-800-DIABETES (1-800-342-2383).

"The more people who take this first step in knowing their risk, the closer we will become to stopping this disease that has reached epidemic proportions," said Geri Spollett, president- elect of health care and education at the American Diabetes Association. "The time to act is now. Taking one quick minute to learn your risk today could lead to a much healthier tomorrow."


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