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ScriptPro unveils compact dispensing technology

BY Alaric DeArment

MISSION, Kan. — Often smaller, less busy stores don’t have space for large robotic dispensing machines.


Enter ScriptPro. The Mission, Kan.-based pharmacy technology provider is unveiling its new Compact Robotic System at the National Association of Chain Drug Stores’ Pharmacy and Technology Conference in Boston. The CRS is designed for small and medium-sized pharmacies whose space limitations would make larger systems impractical.


“It uses the same dispensing technology [and] the same user interface, look and feel as our larger systems,” ScriptPro president and CEO Mike Coughlin told Drug Store News. “It’s really just a matter of moving robotics technology down to the middle and lower end of the bell curve of volume.”


Another new product from ScriptPro is the Third Party Management System, a software application that allows pharmacies to evaluate and track the performance of contracts from such third parties as payers and wholesalers. TPMS also will help pharmacies to more efficiently and profitably participate in the government’s 340B program, whereby healthcare institutions buy drugs at deeply discounted rates to provide to needy patients.

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35,000 users networking with Pharmacist Society

BY Alaric DeArment


Pharmacist Society — which Drug Store News introduced at the National Association of Chain Drug Stores’ 2010 Pharmacy and Technology Conference in San Diego and launched in November 2010 under a partnership with professional networking website developer Skipta — has grown to more than 35,000 members and combines networking, job searching, continuing education and other services in a regulated user environment. Pharmacists, pharmacies and pharmacy schools can create private pages for their employees, while pharmacists can store documents and drug companies can provide members with product education.


“Pharmacist Society is quickly becoming the primary destination where pharmacists collaborate, communicate and connect,” DSN publisher Wayne Bennett said.


Upcoming features include mobile apps that will allow pharmacists to engage and communicate at any time during their day.


“It’s exciting to see the engagement from pharmacists from across all areas of pharmacy, from hospitals to retail to clinics,” Skipta president and CEO Ted Search said. “This site is becoming the true voice of pharmacy.”


And even with the rapid growth in membership, the site has continued to grow.


“We have seen terrific growth in the utilization in Pharmacist Society. Our overall traffic in July was greater than the entire first quarter 2011 period,” Bennett said. “We are seeing more retailers and suppliers coming on board, and Pharmacist Society is quickly becoming the No. 1 destination for pharmacist social networking.”

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Back-to-school deals target shoppers looking for low costs

BY Barbara White-Sax


Retailers, expecting thrifty behavior from consumers, are starting the back-to-school season with early promotions. “Retailers are already running door-buster promotions,” said Perry Smith, an analyst with the NPD Group. “The consumer has been holding out for last-minute shopping hoping for the best deals. In some cases, people are shopping after school starts.”


PriceGrabber’s “Back-to-School Shopping Forecast” revealed that 49% of back-to-school shoppers plan to make purchases in August, compared with 38% in 2010. Only 14% said they would begin shopping in June, versus 26% in 2010, and 41% would visit retailer websites to print out coupons.


In an effort to discourage consumers from cherry-picking items on price, some retailers have created loyalty shopping programs. Staples issued a 15%-off pass for the entire season, and Kmart in July launched its “Epic Year, Epic You!” campaign offering customers the ability to reserve purchases by making payments throughout the summer and pick up purchased items at a Kmart store near students’ college campuses. Grocer H-E-B signed celebrity Jennette McCurdy, co-star of Nickelodeon’s “iCarly,” to promote its back-to-school campaign.


Smith said consumers have been sticking to their school lists and that sharp-priced basics are the category stars. Smith also highlighted 3M’s tape dispensers in stiletto heel or apple shapes, and folders and notebooks that can be colored in with markers.

 

 The article above is part of the DSN Category Review Series. For the complete Back To School Buy-In Report, including extensive charts, data and more analysis, click here.

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