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Reports: Obama gets support from former Costco CEO

BY Alaric DeArment

NEW YORK — President Barack Obama’s re-election bid got a dose of support from the cofounder of one of the country’s largest retailers, according to published reports.

Speaking at the Democratic National Convention, former Costco Wholesale CEO and cofounder Jim Sinegal said Obama "understands what the private sector needs to succeed," The Seattle Times quoted the co-founder of Issaquah, Wash.-based Costco as saying.

Sinegal, who cofounded the club retailer in 1983, retired as CEO of Costco on Jan. 1, 2012, replaced by Craig Jelinek. In January, investment research firm Morningstar named Sinegal as its "2011 CEO of the Year," citing his "exemplary corporate stewardship, independent thinking" and his having created "lasting value for shareholders."

The newspaper reported that Sinegal, a longtime donor and supporter of the Democrats, was part of an effort by the party to present itself as pro-business and challenge the reputation of the Republicans as being the party more favorable to business interests.

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Recognized but underutilized

BY Rob Eder

Despite the fact that 77% of pharmacy patients believe that the pharmacist at their preferred pharmacy is always available to answer their questions, consult on medications, etc., only 28% say that they interact often with their pharmacist. And again, this is an area where local independents are way ahead of the curve (52%), according to an exclusive survey of nearly 800 patients conducted by AccentHealth and DSN in late July and early August.

“This is perception versus reality,” Natalie Hill, VP market research at Accent Health told DSN. “People are saying, ‘Yes, the pharmacist plays a role in my decision-making as far as pharmacy selection; and yes, I think they’re a valuable, trained resource and they’re accessible. But very few are actually reporting that they’re utilizing the pharmacist as a resource regularly.”

To see more Patient Views, click here.

Patient Views is a new, exclusive consumer insights feature that will be appear in every edition of DSN magazine and the daily e-newsletter DSN A.M. If you could ask 4,000 patients anything at all, what would it be? Send your questions to [email protected].

How often do you interact with your pharmacist?

Source: AccentHealth. To view the methodology, click here.

 

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Walgreens announces early enrollment for its Balance Rewards loyalty program available online

BY Michael Johnsen

 DEERFIELD, Ill. — Walgreens on Thursday announced that customers can begin online enrollment into its new customer loyalty program, Balance Rewards. Customers who join online before the official program launch on Sept. 16 will have a chance to enter the Walgreens 10 Million Point Giveaway sweepstakes. 

"We are initially opening enrollment in one of the most important programs in Walgreens history through online and mobile technology as a testament to the company’s legacy of innovation,” said  Graham Atkinson, Walgreens SVP and chief experience officer. “The Balance Rewards program and its features build upon our efforts to give customers easy, multi-channel access to health and daily living needs.”

During the online enrollment period, Sept. 6 to 15, customers can earn additional entries into the sweepstakes by referring friends and family to the program. Within five days of the end of the sweepstakes, 10 grand-prize winners will be randomly selected from the entry pool to receive 1 million points. 

A key component to the online enrollment period is the release of the new Balance Rewards mobile card as part of the Walgreens mobile app. The Walgreens mobile app is available for free and offers several benefits specific to Balance Rewards, including the fact that members can scan their mobile devices right at the register to earn points and savings and redeem awards and participants can review all purchases and points activity and special member savings through the Walgreens app any time or place within their mobile network service area.

Customers will have access to all the features of the Balance Rewards mobile card beginning on Sept. 16, when the full program launches nationally, Walgreens stated.

In addition to the launch of Balance Rewards, Walgreens has recently announced other innovative mobile app features including:

  • Print from Facebook, a feature that allows users to select photos from Facebook albums to print, and pick up at any local Walgreens in about an hour;

  • PrintWorthy. Users can create and print a PrintWorthy card using a photo from Facebook albums with likes and comments;

  • In Store Maps. Customers can use the shopping list feature to map and locate items in any Walgreens store nationwide, down to a particular section of an aisle. Walgreens is the first national retailer with all of its stores mapped in a mobile application, the company said; and

  • QuickPrints, a feature now available for iPad users allowing more mobile users to print photos directly from their mobile devices to any of the Walgreens stores nationwide in about an hour.

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