PHARMACY

Pharmacy Saver at center of Hy-Vee’s wellness business

BY Alaric DeArment

Few supermarkets make health and wellness as central to their business as Hy-Vee, a West Des Moines, Iowa-based chain.

In December 2010, the chain announced it would become one of a number of retailers — including Kroger and Safeway — to participate in Pharmacy Saver, a new program offered in collaboration with UnitedHealthcare, the country’s largest Medicare Part D insurer. The program was launched, in part, as a response to the Humana Walmart-Preferred Rx Plan, launched in late September 2010.

Pharmacy Saver offers 366 commonly prescribed generic drugs to select Medicare beneficiaries for as little as $2, and is offered on top of Hy-Vee’s generic discount program, which offers generic prescriptions for $4 for 30-day supplies and $10 for 90-day supplies.

Pharmacy Saver adds to Hy-Vee’s growing list of pharmacy offerings, including the chain’s partnership with Omaha, Neb.-based Amber Pharmacy to offer specialty pharmacy services that also would take advantage of Hy-Vee’s ability to offer diet and nutrition services. The service, called Hy-Vee Pharmacy Solutions, offers phone service, personal care coordinators and the option of having specialty medications made available for pickup at a Hy-Vee pharmacy or delivery to a patient’s home, office or other location.

Healthy eating is another area where Hy-Vee has staked out a niche. It marked February as American Heart Month with a special advertising circular that contained nutrition information, shopping tips and heart-healthy recipes from Hy-Vee chefs.

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PHARMACY

Building Lone Star loyalty, the H-E-B way

BY Jim Frederick

Not many retail companies would give their customers a vote on how they design their new stores. It’s just one of many ways that H-E-B works to cultivate millions of loyal consumers.

The pharmacy is a focal point for those efforts. VP pharmacy Craig Norman and other pharmacy leaders have turned those large-scale drug store departments into a center not only for one of the largest prescription businesses in the Lone Star state, but also for a growing menu of health and prevention services. H-E-B’s pharmacists, for example, provide one of the most active vaccination programs in the state for influenza, shingles, pneumonia, meningitis and other conditions.

The chain also conducts an extensive health screenings program around such disease states as diabetes. Last year, H-E-B performed about 100,000 screenings in its stores.

Those efforts dovetail with the chain’s “Fully Fit” store-branding program, which provides icons right on packaging to identify healthy food choices throughout the store.

Customers also can access a range of discounts and wellness offerings via the H-E-B Rx Rewards Platinum card. A one-time enrollment fee of $5, which covers every member of a household, guarantees Rx Rewards cardholders discounts on all branded and generic medications — including 500 generics at a 30-day price of $5 and a 90-day prescription rate of $9.99 — as well as discounts on immunizations and pet medicines, a free inControl No Coding starter kit for diabetic patients, free health screenings and free prenatal vitamins.

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Harris Teeter concerns itself with helping achieve ‘yourwellness’

BY Jim Frederick

Harris Teeter describes itself as “not just a grocery store,” but also “a wellness center.” The Matthews, N.C.-based supermarket retailer has taken big steps to provide a broader-than-usual menu of services that blend its pharmacy assets with its growing reach as a source of nutritional expertise.

Since 2006, Harris Teeter has built its health-and-wellness outreach on an integrated platform of services it markets as “yourwellness.” The program includes a free “yourwellness” e-newsletter, interactive online applications and “wellness” tags on products and shelves throughout the store to steer customers to foods that are heart-healthy, organic, sugar-free, low in sodium or fat, lactose-free or rich in calcium or vitamins. Customer advice and meal plans are provided by two nutritional experts.

Harris Teeter pharmacies offer the full range of modern retail prescription services — an opt-in automatic refill program, a Generic Prescription Savings Club that offers 90-day supplies of more than 300 me-too medicines for $9.99 and a new integrated pharmacy system that links all of the chain’s more than 120 pharmacies.

The “yourwellness” membership card provides customers with a broader menu of discounts on such healthcare services as eyeglasses, contact lenses, dental cleanings, X-rays, fillings, vitamins, hearing aids and diabetic supplies. The card is a three-tiered program, offering customers a choice of award levels.
Other services include follow-up calls within 48 to 72 hours after a child receives an antibiotic prescription, immunizations and the recent adoption of sophisticated electronic health record technology that gives both patients and pharmacists a real-time, easily accessed information platform.

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