PHARMACY

Rexall rebranding well underway

BY Antoinette Alexander

Still fresh from its rebranding, Canada’s Rexall remains in the midst of change as it awaits the arrival of a new CEO.

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“Rexall and our pharmacists are industry leaders when it comes to providing patient-focused services, and we look forward to the opportunity to play an even larger role in the delivery of primary care services to Canadians,” said Warren Jeffery, COO, who has assumed day-to-day operational responsibilities in the wake of the departure of former CEO Frank Scorpiniti last October.

Since the 2012 opening of its first re-brand store, the company has opened more than 50 locations under the new design. And, all of its 460-plus stores have received elements of the rebranding, including new private-label products, refreshed marketing and more health- and-wellness services like its new Blood Pressure Kiosk Blood Pressure Check Card program, which enables patients to record and store their last 10 results.

At the front end, much of the reinvention is playing out in the form of enhanced product offerings, such as its exclusive beauty line called Kit and its flagship private brand, Be.better.

In addition to household, snacks and vitamins, the Be.better collection also includes beauty products that are paraben-free and enriched with natural ingredients.

In other executive news, the company recently welcomed Erik Botines as its new VP pharmacy, responsible for pharmacy programs and initiatives, pharmacy category management and professional programs.

Most recently, Botines was responsible for pharmacy business development, pricing and patient services at Shoppers Drug Mart.

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PHARMACY

New leadership steers the helm

BY Michael Johnsen

Retail pharmacy is becoming increasingly global. Bi-Lo Holdings in March brought turnaround expert Ian McLeod to the helm. McLeod, who also has experience in the United Kingdom and Germany, most recently served as managing director for Australia’s 2,200 Coles food, liquor and convenience stores, including more than 760 full-service supermarkets, growing sales from $23.2 billion to $35.2 billion, doubling profits over six years and outperforming the market for 20 consecutive quarters.

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And now he will try his hand at improving Bi-Lo’s business. Last year, Bi-Lo completed its 2013 acquisition of nearly 165 Sweetbay, Harveys and Reid’s stores from Delhaize, and over the course of the year converted those banners to Winn-Dixie, BI-LO and Harveys. Today, Bi-Lo Holdings operates approximately 800 supermarkets, including 527 pharmacies.

Bi-Lo Holdings’ pharmacy operations are performing well under the guidance of John Fegan, Bi-Lo Holdings’ VP pharmacy. The grocer last year implemented its Refill Sync program and now boasts more than 40,000 enrollees. “Our pharmacists did a great job of talking to the patients we serve,” Fegan said. “The average patient has about five prescriptions that they put into this program. The goal is to improve the overall health of the patients that we serve by having them be compliant and persistent on the medications they’re supposed to be taking.”

“It’s a win-win,” Fegan added. “We as a company win because it improves our bottom line, [and] the patients win because their health is being improved by the fact that they’re taking their prescriptions.”

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Chain adds mobile pharmacy app

BY Richard Monks

For the past 35 years, Giant Eagle has not wavered from its commitment to provide its customers with the utmost in convenient pharmacy care.

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At the same time, however, the way the 223-store grocery chain attains that goal has changed to keep pace with the evolving nature of community pharmacy.

“Since opening the first pharmacy in Pittsburgh in 1980, Giant Eagle’s guiding philosophy has evolved from improving customers’ everyday access to health information and prescriptions to providing caring services that drive adherence and improve quality of life,” spokesman Dan Donovan said.

Like many of its competitors, the company has used low-cost and free prescription programs to attract customers. Patients can receive 30-day supplies of certain generic drugs for $4 and 90-day supplies of those same drugs for $10. In addition, Giant Eagle offers free prescriptions for generic antibiotics and two blood-pressure medications.

Recognizing what Donovan calls “a strong need for continuity of care among chronically ill patients,” Giant Eagle added specialty pharmacy services in 2011. In 2013, the company added to that with the acquisition of Rx21 Specialty Pharmacy.

The emphasis on convenience is crucial to the company’s pharmacies remaining a viable option for shoppers who have myriad choices of where to fill their prescriptions, he noted.

In an effort to ensure that its pharmacies are among the most convenient for patients in its area, Giant Eagle added a mobile pharmacy app to its offering last year.

The app allows customers to use their smart-phones to refill prescriptions, set refill and medication reminders and receive alerts when prescriptions are available for pickup.

Donovan noted that the app is among the most recent steps in Giant Eagle’s ongoing effort to meet customers’ needs by offering unique, convenience-based services and innovative technological advances.

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