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Report forecasts 0.2% growth in Mother’s Day spending this year

BY Alaric DeArment

LOS ANGELES — Growth in spending on Mother’s Day will be nearly flat this year as more Americans return to work and have less spare time, according to a new report by market research firm IBISWorld.

The report forecast a 0.2% rise in purchases on Mother’s Day gifts this year over last year, for a total of $17.1 billion.

Growth is expected to be strongest in easy-to-purchase items like flowers and gift certificates, which will grow by 3.9% and 2.2%, to $2.6 billion and $1.8 billion, respectively. Greeting cards will see a 5.3% decline, from last year’s $750 million to $710 million this year, while housewares and gardening items will decline by 3.5%, from last year’s $690 million to $660 million this year.

But overall Mother’s Day spending growth this year represents a huge drop from last year, which saw a 6.5% increase over 2011 as more Americans had disposable per capita income. The decline in greeting cards is due to a shift among consumers to e-cards, email and social networks.

 

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Cleaning out that medicine cabinet: Pharmacies help cut teen Rx abuse

BY Jim Frederick

Teens looking for something to get them high score drugs from friends, from friends of friends, from networks on campus or at school, or from dealers on the street. But increasingly, they’re also turning to another source: Mom and dad’s medicine cabinet.

A new national study shows that 1-out-of-4 teenagers has misused or abused a prescription medication at least once. A prime source of those drugs is the expired medications left in family medicine cabinets, according to a report from Drug Store News.

The Foundation for a Drug-Free World reports that almost half of teens surveyed believe Rx drugs are much safer than illegal street drugs, and “60% to 70% say that home medicine cabinets are their source of drugs.”

The Partnership at Drugfree.org and MetLife Foundation say teen misuse of prescription drugs has jumped 33% in the past five years. Every day in the United States, 2,500 kids ages 12 to 17 years abuse a prescription pain reliever for the first time, according to the Foundation for a Drug-Free World. The National Institute on Drug Abuse reports that “prescription and OTC drugs are the most commonly abused substances by high school seniors after marijuana and alcohol.”

Hence, the urgency behind initiatives like National Drug Take Back Day and the Medicine Abuse Project from The Partnership at Drugfree.org. The goal is to prevent a half million teenagers from abusing prescription medication by the year 2017.

Papatya Tankut, VP of pharmacy affairs at CVS Caremark, a prime sponsor of the abuse project, says that “safely disposing of unwanted drugs…can help prevent the ingestion of expired medication that may have lost its effectiveness while also potentially keeping it out of the wrong hands."

This isn’t just an exercise in managing the disposal of old medicines. “Prescription drug abuse causes the largest percentage of deaths from drug overdosing,” notes the Foundation for a Drug-Free World. “Of the 22,400 drug overdose deaths in the U.S. in 2005, opioid painkillers were the most commonly found drug, accounting for 38.2% of these deaths.”

So drug take-back programs offered by community pharmacies like CVS might actually save a life by making it easy and convenient for parents to clear out their medicine cabinets and keep dangerous narcotics and other meds out of the hands of their kids.

If pharmacists and pharmacies can’t play a part in that effort, who can? As always, your comments are welcome.

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CVS Caremark to participate in White House effort to hire veterans, military spouses

BY Antoinette Alexander

WOONSOCKET, R.I. — CVS Caremark announced that it was among several national companies represented at an event hosted on Tuesday by President Obama, VP Joe Biden, First Lady Michelle Obama and Dr. Jill Biden as part of the Joining Forces initiative.

During the event, the Administration asked companies participating in the Joining Forces initiative to hire and train 435,000 veterans and military spouses over the next five years, after nearly tripling its original goal of hiring 100,000 veterans and military spouses by the end of 2013.
 
CVS Caremark noted that it has been a supporter of hiring veterans and has been recognized for its work to hire and train veterans, guard and reserve members and military spouses. As part of Joining Forces, CVS Caremark stressed its commitment to hire veterans and military spouses for 25% of its new hires in logistics and distribution centers over the next four years.

"With millions of service members transitioning out of the military over the next several years, CVS Caremark is poised and ready to hire and train qualified veterans and military spouses," stated Larry Merlo, president and CEO of CVS Caremark. "We recognize and appreciate the values, experience and skills service members have, and know hiring veterans and military spouses not only strengthens our business, it also enhances our existing workforce." 


David Casey, VP and chief diversity officer for CVS Caremark and a former United States Marine, and Alfredo Ruiz, a supervisor in CVS Caremark’s Vero Beach, Fla, distribution center and a retired U.S. Army soldier, attended the announcement on behalf of the company. 


CVS Caremark recently was recognized by DiversityInc as one of the Top 10 Companies for Veterans. The company also received the Pro Patria Award from the Rhode Island Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve. The Pro Patria Award is presented to one small, one large and one public sector employer in each state that has demonstrated the greatest support to Guard and Reserve employees through their leadership and practices. Rhode Island ESGR also nominated CVS Caremark for a Secretary of Defense Employer Support Freedom Award. The Freedom Award is the highest recognition given by the U.S. Government to employers for their support of employees serving in the Guard or Reserve.


Earlier this year, CVS Caremark signed the Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve’s Statement of Support on behalf of the company, reiterating the company’s support for servicemen and women and their families.
 

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