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Report: Happy Harry’s stores get Walgreens makeover

BY Michael Johnsen

HOCKESSIN, Del. — Walgreens is 10 stores into transforming the popular Happy Harry’s Delaware pharmacy brand into Walgreens stores both inside and out, the News Journal, a Delaware daily, reported earlier this week.

By the end of the year, Happy Harry’s will be no more. Walgreens acquired Happy Harry’s in 2006, but decided to keep the venerable brand name at the time.

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AARP/Walgreens Wellness Tour heads to City of Brotherly Love

BY Allison Cerra

DEERFIELD, Ill. — The AARP/Walgreens Wellness Tour is making its way to Philadelphia next week.

The tour, which seeks to administer $14 million of free health tests nationally, will arrive at the Salvation Army Kroc Center of Philadelphia on May 19 and will offer free screenings from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Tests offered include total cholesterol levels, blood pressure, bone density, glucose levels, waist circumference and body mass index for adults ages 18 years and older, with no appointment necessary.

According to a recent AARP member survey, more than 68% of members surveyed in Pennsylvania said that paying for healthcare expenses is a top healthcare concern. Preventive health screenings are a critical method for detecting potential diseases before symptoms are noticed, AARP and Walgreens said.

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Backing Congress to encourage generic drug use could boost health savings

BY Alaric DeArment

WHAT IT MEANS AND WHY IT’S IMPORTANT — The Generic Pharmaceutical Association and other trade and patient advocacy groups can push generic drug usage as a way to save on medical costs, but throwing the weight of Congress behind generics gives them a bigger boost than ever.

(THE NEWS: GPhA expresses support of Congressional Affordable Medicines Caucus. For the full story, click here)

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services anticipated that by 2019, healthcare costs will account for 19.3% of the country’s GDP. In 2009, according to CMS, health expenditures were $2.5 trillion, including $246 billion spent on prescription drugs, with a projected annual growth rate in drug spending of 6.3% through 2019.

Even a small increase in generic pharmaceutical use could reduce those expenditures by billions of dollars. And although it will be some time before regulations for follow-on biologics emerge, the new regulatory approval pathway for them provided under healthcare reform will open opportunities for further savings in the years to come.

Amid the loud and strident debate over healthcare reform and health spending, it’s often forgotten that generics represent one of the easiest and most accessible ways for the healthcare system to save money. One can hope that a voice for generics on Capitol Hill will help members of Congress and the public realize that cutting healthcare costs without hurting patients is easier than it seems.

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