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Skorman’s pipe dream: Nonprofit pushes for tobacco sales exclusively in Rx

BY DSN STAFF

BERKELEY, Calif. HealthyPharmacies.org that will attempt to boost the prominence of community pharmacy as readily accessible healthcare resource centers through health-oriented signage and merchandising/marketing pilots.—The former founder of Elephant Pharmacy once again is seeking to revolutionize drug store retailing. This time, it’s as part of a nonprofit health advocacy group called

Its first order of business: to develop pilot programs that would mandate the sale of tobacco exclusively through pharmacy, and merchandised adjacent to the pharmacy counter—sans the Marlboro or Camel point-of-purchase signage presently located along the front-end of many pharmacy operations. According to Skorman, as many as 40 local cities and municipalities across 18 states have expressed interest in the concept, which Skorman expected would significantly reduce smoking, while at the same time cement the notion that only pharmacists should be allowed to dispense such dangerous drugs as tobacco.

Skorman expected opposition to this concept from the tobacco lobby, and in anticipation has signed Washington PR firm Fenton Communications, which represents such clients as the American Lung Association and has some experience promoting anti-tobacco initiatives. But the larger opposition may come from convenience store chains. “You can picture having to pass laws that would subsidize convenience stores for a while…because some of them will get hurt a lot,” Skorman said.

According to Nielsen Group data for the 52 weeks ended Oct. 3, tobacco product sales totaled $3.5 billion across convenient stores, up 23.1%. Smoking cessation product sales totaled $364.3 million, up 0.5%.

Such an initiative, if proven successful, would significantly drive sales of both categories exclusively at retail pharmacy, at least in the beginning.

“I started Elephant in Berkeley for the same reason I’m founding this company—the mission’s the same—to reform, transform and revitalize America’s pharmacy system,” Skorman, executive director of the newly minted nonprofit, told Drug Store News. As part of that initiative, HealthyPharmacies.org will develop signage with health-related messages to educate consumers about good health, and also will work toward identifying healthier-for-you products that retailers may include as part of their product mix.

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E-prescriptions hit 4 million mark at Walgreens in October

BY DSN STAFF

NEW YORK The United States has long been a laggard in healthcare information technology, but the country lately has undergone a Cambrian explosion of e-prescribing, as numbers from Walgreens and the e-prescribing network Surescripts demonstrate. The $19 billion that the federal stimulus package offers as an incentive to adopt HIT likely will accelerate the trend.

 

Walgreens reported Tuesday that the number of prescriptions filed electronically through an e-prescribing program the company started in 1992 reached 4 million in October – a 185% increase over last October – and is projected to reach 45 million by the end of the year. That number was 15 million in 2008.

 

 

Further evidence comes from the e-prescribing network Surescripts, which reported in October that more than 140,000 physicians, physician assistance and nurse practitioners now transmit prescriptions electronically. At the end of last year, by contrast active e-prescribers numbered 74,000 and hit the 100,000 mark in May.

 

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Curtis Circulation Co. to distribute Light of Consciousness

BY Allison Cerra

NEW MILFORD, N.J. Curtis Circulation Co. announced the distribution of “a journal of spiritual awakening.”

Curtis announced that it will distribute Light of Consciousness, a quarterly publication is dedicated to seekers interested in awakening consciousness, personal and global transformation and the timeless wisdom of the world’s religious traditions, the company said,

Curtis Circulation Co., a worldwide periodicals distributor, represents many leading and prestigious publishers. The New Milford, N.J.-based firm is a division of Lagardere Services.

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