PHARMACY

Shoppers Drug Mart’s earnings rise across the board

BY Brian Berk

TORONTO — Shoppers Drug Mart earned net income of $201 million Canadian for its fourth quarter ended Dec. 31. This compares to net income of $128C million during the same period in 2015. Adjusted net earnings were $393C million, compared to $363C million in the prior year.

Looking at other quarterly earnings, all presented in Canadian dollars throughout the remainder of the story, the retailer posted revenues of $10.845 billion in its most recent quarter, versus $10.6 billon in the year-ago period.

Drug retail same-store sales enjoyed a 3.4% increase in Shoppers Drug Mart’s fourth quarter, compared to an advancement of 5% in the prior year period. Broken down, pharmacy same-store sales growth increased 2.5%, while front-end same-store sales growth improved by 4.1%.

Food retail same-store sales growth rose by 1.1%, compared to a 2.4% advancement in 2015’s fourth quarter.

For all of 2016, Shoppers Drug Mart earned $1.9 billion in operating income for its fiscal year ended Dec. 31, compared to $1.429 billion during 2015.

Adjusted gross profit rose from $11.747 billion to $12.262 billion in 2016. Adjusted gross profit percentage increase from 26.4% to 27%.

Adjusted EBITDA also increased from $3.352 billion in 2015 to $3.631 billion in 2016. Adjusted EBITDA margins rose from 7.5% to 8%.

Looking specifically at Shoppers Drug Mart’s drug retail division last year, same-store sales growth rose 4% for the period ended Dec. 31. That compares to an increase of 4.3% in the prior year.

Food retail same-store sales growth increased 1.1% during Shoppers Drug Mart’s most recent year, compared to 1.9% the prior year.

Shoppers Drug Mart is a division of Loblaw Companies Ltd.

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PHARMACY

NCPA supports DIR companion legislation introduced in Senate

BY Michael Johnsen

ALEXANDRIA, Va. — Following its support of a similar measure introduced in the House of Representatives, the National Community Pharmacists Association last week endorsed bipartisan legislation introduced in the Senate by Sens. Shelley Moore Capito, R-W.Va., and Jon Tester, D-Mont., that would prohibit pharmacy direct and indirect remuneration fees from being applied after the point-of-sale for prescription drugs dispensed to Medicare beneficiaries.

The legislation is a companion bill to H.R. 1038, also introduced in the House of Representatives last week. "This legislation would address a top concern for independent community pharmacy owners: huge monetary clawbacks assessed by Medicare drug plans, or their intermediaries, pharmacy benefit manager corporations, long after prescriptions are filled and the pharmacy paid," stated Douglas Hoey, CEO NCPA. "Like its House companion bill, H.R. 1038, S.413 would prohibit the imposition of such fees after pharmacies fill prescriptions and are reimbursed in Medicare Part D."

This issue is as much about patient access as it is about pharmacy business issues, Hoey added. "These fees distort the accuracy of drug cost information on Medicare Plan Finder — the only publicly available resource accessible to Part D beneficiaries who rely on this information to make critical decisions about their health care. In addition, these DIR fees increase beneficiary out-of-pocket costs for needed medications and in doing so push them more quickly into the 'donut hole'  — the point at which they are responsible for 100% of prescription drug costs until they reach catastrophic coverage," Hoey noted. "In other words, Part D beneficiaries who need and use their drug plan are punished the most by the fees. That's not fair, and it needs to be corrected by law."

Additional U.S. Senators who are sponsors of S.413, include (in alphabetical order): Sens. John Boozman, R-Ariz., Tom Cotton, R-Ark., Charles Grassley, R-Iowa, Heidi Heitkamp, D-N.D., James Lankford, R-Okla., and Roger Wicker, R-Miss.
 

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Walgreens designates more than 50 specialty pharmacies as cancer-specialized centers

BY Michael Johnsen

DEERFIELD, Ill. — Walgreens on Wednesday designated more than 50 of its local specialty pharmacies as cancer-specialized locations. Each of the locations will be led by pharmacists and pharmacy technicians who have advanced cancer training and expertise and are committed to making sure patients get the medications and answers they need.

“It is increasingly the case that a pharmacist, either over the phone, in person or via a mobile or web chat, will have the last conversation with a patient prior to the initiation of their oral therapies,” stated Matthew Farber, Walgreens senior director for oncology disease state management. “With the continued advances in new oral therapies for cancer care, our pharmacists at these specialty locations are playing an integral role in working with patients’ physicians, nurses, social workers and financial counselors.”

The pharmacy staff at these locations have completed a cancer-focused curriculum of advanced education courses, focused on colorectal, lung, prostate and breast cancer, as well as various blood cancers such as leukemia, lymphomas, multiple myeloma, myeloproliferative neoplasms and myelodysplatic syndrome.

Walgreens cancer-specialized pharmacies help patients access, afford and stay on their medication while also helping to successfully transition them into survivorship care. Walgreens pharmacists and technicians collaborate with other providers to help manage any medication side effects, and can assist in finding financial assistance options, if necessary.

The training curriculum

The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society, the world’s largest voluntary health agency dedicated to blood cancers, along with input from blood cancer experts from academia, developed clinical training courses, resources and certification for Walgreens specialty pharmacists and technicians to learn about and implement the latest evidence-based standards and guidelines for blood cancer care. LLS will be awarding blood cancer certifications to all of the Walgreens cancer-specialized pharmacies upon completion of their blood cancer courses.

“We are passionate about understanding, meeting and exceeding the needs of blood cancer patients,” commented Louis DeGennaro, LLS president and CEO. “Our programs, priorities and policies are driven by what is right for patients. In collaboration with Walgreens, we are making an impact on the health care of the more than 1.2 million people in the U.S. living with or in remission from a blood cancer.”

The education-focused initiative is part of an ongoing collaboration between Walgreens and LLS. One of its objectives has been to implement an education and training program to help enhance pharmacists’ knowledge of blood cancers and treatments, as part of the overall cancer care continuum.
 

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