Pharmacy groups laud efforts to stop regulations to limit access to durable medical equipment
ALEXANDRIA, Va. Several pharmacy groups on Thursday lauded the introduction of legislation by Reps. Marion Berry, D-Ark., and Jerry Moran, R-Kan., to stop regulations that could limit Medicare beneficiaries’ access to durable medical equipment from neighborhood pharmacies.
“As the most accessible healthcare providers, pharmacies and pharmacists play a crucial role in the management of chronic diseases, such as diabetes, and are an essential provider of diabetic supplies and Medicare Part B medications,” stated Steven Anderson, president and CEO of the National Association of Chain Drug Stores. “We appreciate the efforts of Reps. Berry and Moran to help prevent the implementation of regulations that may threaten patients’ access to the crucial supplies and equipment to manage their diseases effectively.”
The term “durable medical equipment” includes product categories as diverse as wheelchairs and oxygen tanks, but also includes diabetes equipment and the related supplies—blood-testing strips and blood glucose monitors.
The proposed legislation would exempt pharmacy suppliers from accreditation requirements for the Medicare Part B durable medical equipment, prosthetics, orthotics and supplies program by including pharmacists and pharmacies in the list of health care providers that CMS has already exempt from meeting the quality standards for DMEPOS accreditation.
According to the pharmacy groups, there are significant costs associated with the accreditation process that can create significant financial barriers for pharmacies and pharmacists that are already state-licensed. To date, the regional Ohio drug store chain Discount Drug Mart is one of the few pharmacies to go through the accreditation process.
For those pharmacy operations that decide not to bear those costs, the accreditation process poses a threat to patients’ access to DME supplies and counseling from their pharmacist.
The pharmacy advocate groups supporting the legislation include: The American Pharmacists Association; Food Marketing Institute; National Association of Chain Drug Stores; National Community Pharmacists Association; and the National Alliance of State Pharmacy Associations.
Cadbury advertising Halls lozenges through chain drug stores
New York Cadbury recently tapped into EyeCurve, patent-pending cardboard advertisements developed by StoreBoard Media and placed at security pedestals near the entrances of nearly 10,000 chain drug stores, to promote its Halls Naturals and Halls throat lozenges through the cough/cold season, according to published reports.
StoreBoard Media will feature the Halls branded pedestal wraps in more than 3,000 retail locations, including 2,600 CVS/pharmacy stores, Duane Reade and 182 Jewel-Osco supermarkets.
The campaign will run through Jan. 25 in 10 major media markets, including: Atlanta, Boston, Chicago, Dallas, Detroit, Houston, Los Angeles, New York, Philadelphia and Washington.
The ads are designed to capture customers’ peripheral vision as they pass through the entrance. The company contracted with Masi International last summer in a matched-panel study at 15 CVS stores in Chicago, where it installed EyeCurve ads for three oral care products. The study, which examined the four-week period before the ads were installed and the four-week period when they were up, found that toothpaste sales increased by 6.5%, mouth rinse sales by 6.9% and brush sales by 8.7%.
Red Bull to market energy shot
Santa Monica, Calif. Red Bull will be entering the sizzling energy shot market sometime in 2009, according to published reports. The 2-oz. shot will be available in regular and sugar-free versions.
The energy shot category has been estimated at more than $300 million in volume through all sources, according to Drug Store News sources, and continues to grow at a significant clip. “Over the last 24 months, the 2-oz product has been the leader in growth in the nutritional category,” Jeffery Joyner, president of the brokerage firm J. Joyner Group, told Drug Store News earlier last year. “Category managers are choosing to merchandise [the 2-oz. energy shots] at the checkout, in nutritionals and in the beverage department,” he said.