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Rite Aid donates additional $100,000 to hurricane-relief efforts

BY Alaric DeArment

CAMP HILL, Pa. — Rite Aid is donating $100,000 to Hurricane Sandy relief efforts in addition to what it has donated already, the retail pharmacy chain said.

Rite Aid announced that it would donate $50,000 each to the Empire State Relief Fund, established by New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo, and the New Jersey Relief Fund, established by New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie. The chain already donated $100,000 to the American Red Cross’ relief efforts in October.

"So many of our customers and associates have asked what they can do to help the people of New York and New Jersey rebuild in the wake of Hurricane Sandy," Rite Aid president, chairman and CEO John Standley said. "By launching our in-store fundraising program during the busiest shopping time of the year for our stores, we can draw on the higher store traffic and the sense of giving surrounding the holiday season to raise as much as we can to help those in need."

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Shoppers Drug Mart waives seniors’ co-pays in Ontario, realizes 6% lift in prescriptions filled

BY Michael Johnsen

TORONTO – Waiving $2 co-pays in Ontario is a big piece of the reason behind a 6% lift in prescriptions dispensed for the third quarter through Oct. 6, Shoppers Drug Mart reported Tuesday afternoon. It’s all part of a strategy to drive more seniors — and their prescriptions — into the store, executives told analysts. "We’re seeing store gains across the country," noted Domenic Pilla, Shoppers president and CEO. "The incremental script count is above our initial expectations," he said. The number of prescriptions dispensed in year-ago comparisons also were up 5%, the company reported. 

Generic prescriptions accounted for 60.1% of all prescriptions dispensed for the quarter, compared to 56.9% last year. Overall, pharmacy sales accounted for 48% of total sales. 

That robust pharmacy volume at Shoppers Drug Mart helped drive $3.2 billion in third-quarter sales, up 3.2%, for the period ended Oct. 6. Overall same-store sales were up 2.3%. 

Pharmacy sales totaled $1.5 billion, an increase of 1.7%, while on a same-store basis, pharmacy sales increased 0.9% during the quarter. 

Shoppers’ strong pedigree across beauty is helping to boost front-end sales across the front-end, as Shoppers took in $1.7 billion in front-end sales, up 4.6%. On a same-store basis, front store sales increased 3.6% during the quarter. "The growth is coming throughout the beauty business," Pilla said, as Shoppers Drug Mart has become the launch pad for many beauty brands in Canada. "We are getting and attracting more brands and SKUs to our value proposition," Pilla said. "We’re winning with new. … We’re very proud of that, as we [have] become the destination for new launches for beauty in Canada."

In 2013, Shoppers will realize its initial projections of 350 Beauty Boutiques across the country. Presently, Shoppers operates 322 Beauty Boutiques, and plans to open at least 20 additional boutiques through next year. 

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MinuteClinic recognizes National Nurse Practitioner Week

BY Alaric DeArment

WOONSOCKET, R.I. — MinuteClinic is highlighting its support for the education and advancement of clinicians across the country in recognition of National Nurse Practitioner Week, the company said Tuesday.

"Every day, thousands of individuals across the United States see evidence of the compassion, care and patient education provided by nurse practitioners, and we see the appreciation for that care through consistently high customer satisfaction ratings," MinuteClinic president and SVP and associate chief medical officer for parent company CVS Caremark Andrew Sussman said. "As the shortage of primary care physicians continues to grow and nurse practitioners play an even larger role in patient care, we are committed to creating advancement opportunities for clinicians through a growing program of preceptorships, residencies, scholarships and grants."

The company employs more than 2,000 nurse practitioners and physician assistants at more than 600 walk-in medical clinics inside CVS/pharmacy stores, and the company has increased the number of nurse practitioner and physician assistant preceptorships at its clinical from 40 to more than 200, giving graduate-level students the opportunity to observe practitioners, learn clinical skills and see what it’s like to work in a retail clinic setting.

The company also funds scholarships at schools and organizations such as the United Negro College Fund and the Massachusetts General Hospital Institute of Health Professinals and, in September, launched its first nurse practitioner residency program with the school of nursing at the Bouve College of Health Sciences at Northeastern University. In addition, the company funds a grant for nurse practitioners pursuing doctorates and conducting research into community-based health issues through the American Nurses Foundation.

"We are currently working with more than 100 colleges and universities in the United States at various levels to support nurse practitioner and physician assistant education," MinuteClinic chief nurse practitioner officer Paulette Thabault said. "We also believe in the importance of developing new continuing education and research grants for professionals."


 

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