PHARMACY

WAG posts 3.9% November sales decline, but 38 million new loyalty members bodes well for future

BY Michael Johnsen

DEERFIELD, Ill. — Walgreens Wednesday morning reported November sales of $5.9 billion, a decrease of 3.9% versus the same period last year. Total front-end sales decreased 0.3% compared with the same month in fiscal 2012, while comparable store front-end sales were down 1.7%. Customer traffic in comparable stores was down 4.9% while basket size increased 3.2%.

However, registrations for Walgreens Balance Rewards loyalty program, which launched in September, totaled more than 38 million through November, denoting a strong start for the program. 

Sales were likely negatively impacted by store closures related to Hurricane Sandy, suggested Credit Suisse research analyst Ed Kelly, but that wasn’t the only drag on drug channel sales. "Additionally, underlying drug store front-end sales were likely pressured by continued consumer weakness, channel shifting to value oriented players and aggressive growth of small box formats like dollar stores," he wrote in a research note published last week. "Industry sales have been disappointing the last few months, and we believe an improvement in November is unlikely."

Walgreens’ number of comparable prescriptions filled were down 2.9% for the month, while pharmacy sales decreased 4.7%, including an 8.8% decline in same-store pharmacy sales. Pharmacy sales accounted for 63.2% of total sales for the month. Credit Suisse had projected pharmacy comparable sales declines as high as 11.8%, reflecting a 750 basis point negative impact from lost Express Scripts patients. That may suggest Walgreens has recaptured more than the 30% of former Express Scripts patients projected by Credit Suisse. 

An early start to the influenza season, as suggested by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention earlier this week, may help to improve pharmacy and over-the-counter same-store sales comparisons going forward, especially compared to the anemic sales contributed to a weak flu season a year ago. 

Overall sales in comparable stores decreased by 6.2% in November, Walgreens reported. Calendar day shifts negatively impacted total comparable sales by 20 basis points, while generic drug introductions in the last 12 months negatively impacted total comparable sales by 570 basis points.

Total sales for the first quarter of fiscal 2013, which ended Nov. 30, were $17.3 billion, down 4.5%. Comparable store sales for the first quarter of fiscal 2013 decreased 7.7%, while front-end comparable store sales for the quarter decreased 2%. Prescriptions filled at comparable stores decreased 4.6% and total prescriptions decreased 3% in the first quarter. Comparable pharmacy sales for the first quarter decreased 10.8%.

Flu shots administered at pharmacies and clinics season-to-date were nearly 4.6 million versus approximately 5 million last year.

Walgreens opened 39 stores during November, including 10 relocations and closed one.

 

 

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PHARMACY

AmerisourceBergen fills new president, global sourcing and manufacturer relations role internally

BY Michael Johnsen

VALLEY FORGE, Pa. — AmerisourceBergen on Wednesday named Peyton Howell SVP AmerisourceBergen and president, global sourcing and manufacturer relations, effective immediately. 

“Peyton’s appointment clearly demonstrates our commitment to providing value to our manufacturer partners," stated Steve Collis, AmerisourceBergen president and CEO. "By creating and placing this position at the enterprise level and putting someone with Peyton’s expertise in this role, we are poised to be the preferred partner to manufacturers by providing best-in-class services from the entire AmerisourceBergen portfolio.” 

Howell was most recently SVP business development, AmerisourceBergen and president of AmerisourceBergen Consulting Services, a business unit of the Company. She was also a founder and president of Lash Group, which became part of AmerisourceBergen in 1998. 

Howell will be responsible for directing the relationships with the portfolio teams from pharmaceutical manufacturers. One of Howell’s initial objectives will be to work collaboratively to match AmerisourceBergen’s nearly $80 billion in annual pharmaceutical sales with the needs of manufacturers, including specialty, brand, generic and over-the-counter products. Howell’s health care policy background will also help to ensure that AmerisourceBergen is positioned to support the future needs of manufacturers and health care providers.

Howell holds a master’s degree in Health Administration from The Ohio State University and a Bachelor of Arts from the University of Illinois. In addition to serving various leadership roles in the Healthcare Distribution and Management Association, she is also a member of the Healthcare Financial Management Association, American College of Healthcare Executives and the Academy of Managed Care Pharmacy.

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McKesson introduces new ExpressRx Track pharmacy automation solution

BY Michael Johnsen

PITTSBURGH — McKesson High Volume Solutions on Tuesday unveiled an all new ExpressRx Track pharmacy automation solution featuring state-of-the-art robotics, upgraded imaging and expanded vial capabilities. The company suggested the solution was ideal for pharmacies dispensing 1,000 to 3,000 prescriptions per shift looking to drive efficiency, reduce cost-to-fill and redeploy labor into revenue-generating front-of-store programs.  

The ExpressRx Track is able to process 95% of all countable prescriptions at 99.99% accuracy for ExpressRx Track users. The ExpressRx Track also includes new pill image features and supports a unified drug photo library so verification pharmacists can more seamlessly verify filled prescriptions.

 

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