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Shoppers Drug Mart unveils arthritis screening program in Canada

BY Antoinette Alexander

TORONTO — Minister of Health Rona Ambrose joined with Domenic Pilla, Shoppers Drug Mart president and CEO, on Monday in the launch of the company’s Arthritis Screening program — a way for Canadians to work with a pharmacist to help detect arthritis early and manage their condition.

Pharmacists at more than 1,200 Shoppers Drug Mart stores across Canada will be providing arthritis screening and information to Canadians as part of a three-year partnership between Shoppers Drug Mart/Pharmaprix, Arthritis Consumer Experts and the Arthritis Research Centre of Canada.

"Shoppers Drug Mart pharmacists are already actively involved in managing complex chronic diseases, like diabetes, heart disease and now arthritis," stated Pilla. "By becoming increasingly involved in managing complex chronic diseases, pharmacists are helping to ease the burden on the healthcare system, while also helping to improve patient care."

The Shoppers Drug Mart Arthritis Screening is the first and only program in Canada designed with women in mind because the disease affects 2-out-of-3 or 2.8 million Canadian women. To help detect the disease at an early stage, the program includes a self-administered joint exam and questionnaire. It also helps Canadians with arthritis work with a pharmacist to monitor their symptoms and medication over time to prevent the disease from worsening.

An estimated 1-out-of-6 Canadians aged 15 years and older live with arthritis and its prevalence has a tremendous impact, translating into lost productivity, absenteeism and increased healthcare spending — costing an estimated $33 billion annually.

"Our government supports initiatives that help Canadians better manage their health and improve their quality of life," stated Ambrose. "We are pleased to have funded research that contributed to the development of this innovative new program that will improve the quality of life of Canadians living with arthritis."

The program was developed from research carried out at the Arthritis Research Centre of Canada with funding provided from the Government of Canada through the Canadian Institutes of Health Research. It shows how researchers, patients and the private sector can work together to provide innovative health solutions to Canadians.


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Walgreens folds convenient in-store lab testing into stores in partnership with Theranos

BY Michael Johnsen

PALO ALTO, Calif. — Theranos and Walgreens on Monday announced a long-term partnership to bring access to Theranos’ new lab testing service through Walgreens pharmacies nationwide. As the service becomes available through Theranos Wellness Centers inside Walgreens stores, consumers will be able to access less invasive and more affordable clinician-directed lab testing. 

“Theranos’ service offers affordable certified lab testing with quicker response times, and furthers our mission to provide a differentiated patient experience,” stated Kermit Crawford, Walgreens president of pharmacy, health and wellness. “This is the next step in Walgreens’ efforts to transform community pharmacy, giving our patients and customers convenient access to the comprehensive care they need, right in their communities.”

Theranos and Walgreens are taking the first step in making this service available to consumers with the first Theranos Wellness Center location opening this month at Walgreens drug store at 300 University Ave. in Palo Alto, Calif., in the heart of Silicon Valley. The companies plan to offer the service at Walgreens locations nationwide.

The samples are either taken from a tiny finger stick or a micro-sample taken from traditional methods, eliminating the need for larger needles and numerous vials of blood required for most diagnostic lab testing.

For the first time, Theranos is introducing CLIA-certified laboratory services with the ability to run its tests on micro-samples. Theranos’ proprietary laboratory infrastructure minimizes human error through extensive automation to produce high quality results. Test results are available to physicians in a matter of hours, enabling fast diagnoses to help informed treatment choices. Theranos tests are low cost — always 50% of Medicare reimbursement rates or less — and are reimbursed by major insurance carriers, Medicare and Medicaid. Developed to be accessible to everyone, Theranos tests cost the same amount for everyone, regardless of insurance plan or whether they are uninsured.

“For the past 10 years, Theranos has worked relentlessly to reach a point at which we could help make actionable information accessible to physicians and patients at the time it matters most. Clinicians can now see their patients having received lab results from fresh samples in a matter of hours,” stated Elizabeth Holmes, chairman, CEO Theranos. “This partnership will further our goal to bring high quality, affordable lab testing to people everywhere, with our new Wellness Centers in Walgreens retail locations closest to homes and workplaces.”


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Kroger has donated 175 million meals to Feeding America food banks since 2008

BY Michael Johnsen

CINCINNATI — Kroger on Monday announced that the company has donated 175 million meals from fresh meat, produce, dairy and bakery items to Feeding America food banks since 2008 through its groundbreaking Perishable Donations Partnership.

"Kroger’s No. 1 community priority is to support organizations that bring food and hope to our neighbors in need," stated Lynn Marmer, Kroger’s group VP corporate affairs. "With one-in-six Americans unsure where their next meal will come from, our store associates are leading the charge to deliver fresh nutritious items like healthy fruits and vegetables to Feeding America’s network of food banks."

The program has also enabled Kroger to divert more than 100,000 tons of waste away from landfills and incinerators.

As a founding partner of Feeding America, one of the nation’s largest domestic hunger agencies, Kroger has been engaged in the hunger relief effort for more than 30 years. Today, the Kroger family of stores has longstanding relationships with more than 80 local food banks.

Perishable donations have steadily increased as a share of Kroger’s total contributions to food banks. In 2012, Kroger donated the equivalent of 200 million meals in food and funds. The Perishable Donations Partnership contributed 40.8 million fresh meals to the total in 2012, up from 11.7 million in 2008.

"The Perishable Donations Partnership has rapidly become our most important source of food to help feed families struggling with hunger," noted Matt Knott, president of Feeding America. "Our retail donations program has grown in large part because Kroger opened its playbook to the rest of the industry and showed other retailers how it could be done."

Kroger’s Fred Meyer division pioneered the Perishable Donations Partnership about nine years ago. Stores partnered with local food banks in the Pacific Northwest to collect fresh food and properly store it so it could be quickly shipped to reach hungry families. Kroger adopted Fred Meyer’s model and worked with Feeding America to develop food safety and quality control standards, and trained associates to facilitate the program in their stores. Currently, 96% of the company’s 2,419 supermarket stores participate in the program.

Kroger’s announcement coincides with Hunger Action Month, Feeding America’s month-long campaign to inspire individuals to take action to help end hunger in their communities.


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