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NPCA introduces payment program for pharmacy, drug store operators

BY Allison Cerra

COCONUT CREEK, Fla. — The National Payment Card Association has unveiled a new payment program aimed at pharmacy and drug store operators.

NPCA said its solution is a merchant-branded, PIN-based debit/loyalty card program that touts a 15 cents-per-transaction interchange fee.

The NPCA solution provides:

  • Merchant branded online enrollment engine;

  • Transaction processing and authorization;

  • Consumer portal with 24/7 access;

  • Merchant portal with a robust set of databases and business analytical tools;

  • Email engine that delivers communications to cardholders for confirming purchases and one that can leverage for special offers or incentives; and

  • Customer information that belongs to the retailer.

"We strongly believe that, just like the petroleum vertical where we started our efforts, and from what we are seeing currently in the grocery sector, the pharmacy/drug vertical will demonstrate great interest in our payment program," NPCA president Joe Randazza said. "Our goal is to empower pharmacy and drug store merchants and, in presenting our solution, we can show them what they can do for themselves to protect their profits and build loyalty."

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Kroger names president of QFC division

BY Michael Johnsen

CINCINNATI — Kroger has announced the promotion of Joe Fey as president of the Quality Food Centers division.

Fey, 57, has been VP merchandising for the company’s Michigan division. He succeeds Donna Giordano, who was recently promoted to president of the Ralphs division in California.

"We are pleased Joe has agreed to join our QFC division," Kroger president and COO Rodney McMullen said. "Joe has always led with a passion for developing great people and delivering the highest-quality products to our customers. His skills as a mentor and expert merchandiser will help QFC continue to be the quality and service leader in the Pacific Northwest."

Fey brings nearly 35 years of retail experience to QFC. He began his career as a meat clerk with Kroger in 1972 while earning a bachelor’s degree in business administration at Indiana University. He quickly was promoted to a variety of leadership positions, including store management, deli/bakery merchandising and meat/seafood merchandising in both the company’s Central division and corporate office in Cincinnati. In 1999, Fey was named VP merchandising for the Dillons division, and in 2008 was named VP merchandising for the Michigan division.

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Inappropriate prescribing of antibiotics noted in new CDC report

BY Allison Cerra

ATLANTA — The number of antibiotic prescriptions sought for acute respiratory infections decreased by 24% between 1993 and 2008, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s latest "Morbidity and Mortality Weekly" report.

While this drop may be substantial, the CDC found that nearly 60% of antibiotic prescriptions for office visits among children ages 14 years and younger were for ARIs, most episodes of which do not require antibiotic therapy.

"While this decrease is encouraging, antibiotics are still prescribed too frequently for children ages 14 years and younger," CDC said. "Interventions, such as patient and healthcare provider education, offered by CDC’s Get Smart: Know When Antibiotics Work campaign, are important steps towards further reducing rates of antibiotic use among children in the United States."

The decrease in antibiotic prescriptions among those with ARIs was mostly due to decreased prescribing for patients with pharyngitis (26% decrease) and patients with nonspecific upper respiratory infections or the common cold (19% decrease).

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