PHARMACY

Walgreens garners recognition for many pharmacy core competencies

BY Michael Johnsen

WHAT IT MEANS AND WHY IT’S IMPORTANT — There is one key takeaway from Fast Company’s naming of Walgreens as one of the industry’s most innovative companies — Walgreens wasn’t classified under the industry banner of "retailer," but under the industry banner of "health care." And if that isn’t proof enough that Walgreens’ latest retooling of its pharmacy is making patients rethink what health care is all about, then consider this: Walgreens is the only company in Fast Company’s Healthcare Top 10 that physically interacts with patients — in America that is. There is one hospital system based in India on the list.

(THE NEWS: Walgreens named one of healthcare industry’s most innovative companies by Fast Company. For the full story, click here.)

And it gets better. What that pushed Walgreens into that top 10 was the fact that with the latest "Well Experience" remodels, the retailer has pulled its most-coveted employees out from behind the pharmacy curtain and placed them center stage in front of the customer — "freeing them from some administrative tasks and making them more available as frontline healthcare consultants," the Fast Company write-up read.

Medication therapy management. Health screenings. A focus on "well" across the front-end with a greater allotment toward fresh food and the "iPad-equipped health guide to serve as a roaming health help desk for customers" were the distinctions that earned Walgreens top 10 recognition.

There is even a greater takeaway from this — and it’s bigger than the well-deserved accolades flowing in the direction of Walgreens. Through the buzz created around Walgreens’ latest pharmacy model, retail pharmacy is garnering some pretty mainstream attention for core competencies like MTM and health screenings that can be accessible, and in many cases already are accessible, across many pharmacy operations. And that’s not just good news for the pureplay pharmacy retailer focused on expanding its healthcare touch points with its patients in every conceivable manner; that’s good news for the healthcare industry at large.

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PHARMACY

PCMA drug diversion ad draws criticism

BY Alaric DeArment

ALEXANDRIA, Va. — An organization representing independent retail pharmacies is criticizing a new ad by a pharmacy benefit manager industry group, calling the ad "irresponsible."

The National Community Pharmacists Association condemned an advertisement by the Pharmaceutical Care Management Association that seemed to place some of the blame for drug diversion on pharmacy retailers, asking "Why is the drug store lobby trying to limit pharmacy fraud and abuse enforcement."

The ad was released in response to a hearing Thursday of the U.S. House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Commerce, Manufacturing and Trade, dubbed "Prescription Drug Diversion: Combating the Scourge." The hearing also included testimony from National Association of Chain Drug Stores VP government affairs and pharmacy adviser Kevin Nicholson, who detailed some of the methods that chain pharmacy retailers use to prevent diversion, a major component of what the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has called the growing problem of prescription drug abuse in the United States.

"This divisive and deceptive ad marks a new low," NCPA SVP government affairs John Coster said. "It’s like the pot calling the kettle black. PBM mail-order outlets push huge quantities of controlled substances out the door each and every day to patients they don’t know — many of whom don’t need them or order them — and get delivered to unsecured mail boxes. In fact, mail order was prominently mentioned as a problem by Kentucky attorney general Jack Conway during his testimony before Congress [Thursday]."

 


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PHARMACY

Watson launches authorized generic menopause drug

BY Alaric DeArment

PARSIPPANY, N.J. — Watson has launched an authorized generic drug for treating postmenopausal women, the company said Friday.

Watson announced the launch of progesterone capsules in the 100-mg and 200-mg strengths, an authorized generic version of Abbott Labs’ Prometrium, under an agreement with Abbott. Abbott will manufacture the drug and supply it to Watson, which will market and distribute it and share profits. Other terms were not disclosed, the companies said.

The drug is used to prevent endometrial hyperplasia in postmenopausal women who have not undergone a hysterectomy and who are receiving conjugated estrogen tablets.

Prometrium had sales of about $198 million during the 12-month period ended in January, according to IMS Health.

 


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