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Regional pharmacy retailer conference focuses on social media

BY Alaric DeArment

CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. — Social media was the biggest topic of discussion as regional retail pharmacy executives from around the country gathered last month for the Southern Drug Stores Association’s annual meeting.

VP marketing Theron Andrews of Seattle-based Bartell Drugs gave a presentation on how to use social media such as Facebook and Twitter to benefit customers’ knowledge of pharmacy goods and services, while social media expert Phil Adikes was a featured speaker for the event, which took place at Keswick Hall at Monticello in Charlottesville, Va. from Aug. 8-11, drawing chains like Drug Emporium, Fruth Pharmacy, Hartig Drug, Kinney Drugs, Lifechek Drug, Sav-Mor Drugs, Sav-On Drugs, Red Cross Pharmacy and Ritzman Pharmacies. Sav-On Drugs CEO Bill Newman will be the new SDSA chairman next year, the group said.

"The time spent at Southern Drug always pays dividends for us," Fruth Pharmacy president Lynne Fruth said. "Looking at new product offerings and sharing best practices with other chains is invaluable. We always come back with products or a few new initiatives to implement, and the time we are able to spend with business partners is very beneficial."

Other events allowed extensive interactions between vendors and pharmacy executives.

"I can honestly say that this was one of the finest pharmacy business meetings I have ever attended," pharmacy technology manufacturer Kirby Lester’s Christopher Thomsen said. "Granted, the location and facilities were first-rate, but the overall organization of this event and the quality of the meetings and social events were world-class."

 

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BI launches Combivent Respimat

BY Alaric DeArment

RIDGEFIELD, Conn. — Boehringer Ingelheim Pharmaceuticals has launched a drug for treating chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, the company said Tuesday.

BI Pharmaceuticals announced the launch of Combivent Respimat (ipratropium bromide and albuterol), calling it a propellant-free inhaler that uses a slow-moving mist to deliver the same active ingredients as the Combivent metered dose inhaler, requiring one inhalation per dose, compared with Combivent MDI’s two inhalations.

"Combivent Respimat is a testament to our company’s commitment to developing advancements for peole living with respiratory disease," BI Pharmaceuticals VP clinical development and medical affairs Tunde Otulana said. "We are continuing to examine the potential of several late-stage investigational compounds also delivered by the Respimat inhaler."


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Walmart launches ‘Golden Spark’ promotion as part of hunger awareness campaign

BY Allison Cerra

BENTONVILLE, Ark. — Walmart has launched part of its Fighting Hunger Together fall initiative to provide meals to communities in need.

The "Golden Spark" promotion, a $2.5 million initiative, gives consumers a chance to win "sparks" that will help fund childhood hunger programs in their communities. The Fighting Hunger Together fall initiative is part of Walmart and the Walmart Foundation’s $2 billion commitment through 2015 to fight hunger. As a part of this commitment, Walmart and its Foundation pledged to donate more than 1.1 billion lbs. of food from Walmart stores, distribution centers and Sam’s Club locations, valued at $1.75 billion, as well as $250 million in grants to support hunger relief organizations.

Walmart said the Fighting Hunger Together fall initiative launches amidst the release of the U.S. Department of Agriculture report which found that at some point during the year, more than 50 million Americans won’t know where their next meal will come from, which is equivalent to 1-in-6 Americans.

"The USDA report is yet again proof that millions of Americans are facing the harsh reality of hunger this year and the issue is further compounded by a historic drought and the lingering effects of high unemployment rates," said Sylvia Mathews Burwell, president of the Walmart Foundation. "Walmart is committed to fighting hunger in America every day. By engaging our partners and providing unique and creative opportunities for our customers and associates to join the fight against hunger, such as this campaign, we know we can make an even greater impact and help local communities through this critical time."

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