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Walgreens announces Tdap vaccination voucher program in collaboration with Alaska health department

BY Michael Johnsen

DEERFIELD, Ill. — Walgreens on Wednesday announced a tetanus, diphtheria, pertussis (Tdap) vaccination voucher program, in collaboration with the Alaska Department of Health and Social Services, to help protect against pertussis (whooping cough). 
 
Vouchers are available to Alaskans ages 10 years and older, can be redeemed at any of Walgreens' six Anchorage area locations and are being offered as reported cases of whooping cough in Alaska are higher than in past years.
 
“We’re proud to partner with the Department of Health and Social Services on this important initiative to help protect more people, and an important segment of our population, from whooping cough,” said Justin Coyle, Alaska market pharmacy director for Walgreens. 
 
Walgreens pharmacists in Alaska can administer immunizations to anyone age 10 years and older.

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H.D. Smith names annual Trading Partners of the Year

BY Michael Johnsen

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. — H. D. Smith on Monday announced the winners of its annual Trading Partners of the Year award, honoring select pharmaceutical and health products manufacturers who collaborate actively to grow the industry and advance patient care. Each award category recognizes two winners, based on criteria including trade volume, trade policies and overall sales, for excellence across each key H. D. Smith product area. 
 
This year’s Trading Partners of the Year are:
 
  • Brand and Specialty Pharmaceuticals: AstraZeneca and Eisai;
  • Generic Pharmaceuticals: Lupin Pharmaceuticals and Qualitest;
  • Health, Beauty and Wellness Products: Geiss, Destin and Dunn and The Emerson Group; and
  • Home Healthcare Products: First Quality and Allison Medical.
“H. D. Smith’s commitment to improving the quality, safety and cost of patient care goes hand-in-hand with building strong relationships with our industry partners,” said Chris Smith, president and COO of H. D. Smith. “Our mission and focus is providing best-in-class support for our manufacturing, pharmacy and health-system customers, and ultimately, the patients they care for across the country. Our connection with each trading partner is deeply valued, and because we know how much our partnership can benefit both organizations, we invite all trading partners to spend time with us each year. We collaborate and plan for the next year, together.”
 
The awards were presented during the 2014 H. D. Smith National Sales and Management Conference held Aug. 5-7 in Charleston, S.C.

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Dollar General affirms commitment to Family Dollar acquisition; reports lift in Q2 sales

BY Michael Johnsen

GOODLETTSVILLE, Tenn.— Dollar General reported it is still committed to its proposed acquisition of Family Dollar as the company reported $4.7 billion in sales for its second quarter ended Aug. 1, representing an increase of 7.5%. Same-store sales were up 2.1%. 
 
"In regards to our proposal to acquire Family Dollar, we remain firmly committed to the acquisition. The financial benefits of our offer to Family Dollar shareholders are indisputable, and the proposed combination would unlock tremendous value for Dollar General shareholders," said Rick Dreiling, Dollar General chairman and CEO. "We continue to believe the potential antitrust issues are manageable and that our transaction as proposed is both superior and achievable."
 
Over the second quarter, Dollar General improved both customer traffic and average ticket for the 26th consecutive quarter, Dreiling reported. "As we enter the third quarter, we are seeing our sales momentum pick back up and expect that momentum to build as our initiatives gain traction with our customers. For the second half of the year, we are well positioned to serve our customers and provide them with the everyday low pricing they count on from us. We remain focused on driving our sales and profitability as we continue to forecast fiscal 2014 adjusted diluted EPS of $3.45 to $3.55 for the full year."
 
Consumables sales continued to increase at a higher rate than non-consumables for the quarter, with the most significant growth related to tobacco products, perishables and candy and snacks. 
 
For the 26-week period ended Aug. 1, net sales increased 7.2% over the comparable 2013 period to $9.3 billion. Same-store sales increased 1.8%. Increases in customer traffic and average transaction amount contributed to the increase in same-store sales. The remainder of the sales increase was attributable to new stores, partially offset by sales from closed stores.
 
For the 2014 fiscal year, Dollar General expects total sales to increase 8% to 9% over the 2013 fiscal year, with same-store sales expected to increase 3% to 3.5%. Adjusted diluted EPS for the fiscal year is expected to be approximately $3.45 to $3.55. 
 
Capital expenditures are expected to be in the range of $450 million to $500 million in 2014. The company plans to open approximately 700 new stores in 2014 and to relocate or remodel, using the company's traditional remodel criteria, approximately 500 stores. In addition, Dollar General plans to complete approximately 400 life cycle remodels.

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