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Rx sales increase at supermarket

BY Michael Johnsen

Out of all retail pharmacy outlets, food stores have slightly increased their prescription sales, generating March year-to-date sales of $5.7 billion, up 0.5%, according to IMS Health data. Including drug, mail and independents, prescription sales totaled $58.3 billion, down 4.7%, reported Doug Long, VP industry relations for IMS Health, at an FMI education breakout.

Supermarket pharmacy dispensed 132 million prescriptions in that time, up 2.3%, as compared with 964 million prescriptions dispensed across all channels, representing a 2.6% volume lift.

However, capturing patients soon may be of greater importance than prescriptions, noted John Fegan, VP pharmacy for Bi-Lo Winn-Dixie. “It isn’t about the numbers anymore, it’s about [patient] compliance and [health outcomes] impact,” he observed following Long’s presentation

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Navigating PBM legislation

BY Michael Johnsen

Antitrust attorney and pharmacy benefit management legal expert David Balto on Friday monitored a mini-summit helping supermarket pharmacy better navigate the PBM universe. And Balto updated attendees on the legislative landscape — three current bills pending in Congress; 29 states now regulate PBM activity; and 19 states have PBM legislation pending.

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Nutrition information critical to health care

BY Michael Johnsen

There is a need for good nutrition information that can be easily integrated into an overarching healthcare offering, noted Christopher Taylor, an associate professor of medical dietetics and family medicine at Ohio State University, during an FMI education breakout session Thursday.

“Lifestyle is playing a role in influencing an individual’s health,” Taylor said. And consumers are looking to the food industry “to provide the information and help facilitate the lifestyle changes … they’re making.”

With the implementation of more outcomes-based medicine on the horizon, Taylor outlined an Ohio University pilot utilizing eHealth technologies to relay registered dietician consultations at retail back to that patient’s primary care center.

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