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Walgreens partners with Google Health for healthcare records access

BY Alaric DeArment

DEERFIELD, Ill. A major pharmacy chain and a major Internet portal are collaborating to allow patients to view their prescription histories online.

Walgreens will provide patients access to their prescription histories through Google Health, a service that the Internet search engine launched Monday that gives patients online access to personal medical information.

Walgreens, which already allows patients to store their pharmacy information on its Web site, hopes the new service will allow patients to better provide multiple healthcare professionals with medical information by securely linking their information on Walgreens.com with Google Health.

Microsoft launched a similar service, HealthVault, last year.

Walgreens has a long history of pharmacy technology innovation. In the early 1980s, the company was the first retail pharmacy chain to computerize all of its pharmacies nationwide and link them via satellite. In 1992, Walgreens invented the electronic prescription, which is seen today as one of the leading ways to enhance pharmacy safety and lower prescription costs. More recently, Walgreens was the first pharmacy to fully integrate its online pharmacy with its retail pharmacies and was the first to offer prescription label directions in 14 different languages.

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Tesco Fresh & Easy rolling out 250 new products

BY Doug Desjardins

EL SEGUNDO, Calif. Tesco Fresh & Easy is adding more than 250 products to the chain’s already large private label offering as it fine tunes stores during a 90-day break on expansion that began in early April. New products include more fresh prepared meals, juices and meats.

One new product already in stores is the Mixed Grill Pack, which retails for $9.99 and contains four sausages, four beef patties, four chicken thighs and four drumsticks. Other products are due to arrive in stores over the next two months. The chain also plans to add brighter signs and other new merchandising elements in its next store opening on July 2 in Manhattan Beach, Calif.

Fresh & Easy chief executive officer Tim Mason said in a statement that the chain is adding new products in response to feedback from customers. “We continue to listen to our customers and look for ways to make their shopping trip even better.”

Tesco currently has 61 stores in Southern California, Las Vegas and Phoenix and expects to have up to 200 by 2009.

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Former Starbucks ceo Donald appointed to Rite Aid board

BY Michael Johnsen

CAMP HILL, Pa. Rite Aid’s Board of Directors Wednesday morning announced the appointment of Jim Donald, former president and chief executive officer of Starbucks, to the board.

Donald will fill the seat on the 14-member board vacated by Robert Mariano, who was elected in June 2006 for a three-year term and has resigned, the company reported.

Donald, 54, joined Starbucks in October 2002 as president, North America, where he managed business development and operations for all Starbuck stores in the U.S. and Canada and in March 2005, was promoted to president and chief executive officer. During his tenure, the company grew to more than 15,000 stores in 43 countries. Prior to joining Starbucks, Donald served from 1996 to 2002 as chairman, president and chief executive officer of Pathmark Stores, an East Coast regional supermarket chain.

His more than 30 years in retailing includes being handpicked by Sam Walton to help lead Wal-Mart’s development and expansion of the Wal-Mart Super Center, where he oversaw all merchandising, distribution, store design and real estate operations from 1991 to 1994. He has also served in a variety of senior management positions with Albertson’s and Safeway, where he had a reputation for improving the financial performance of stores under his supervision.

Donald’s term will expire at the company’s annual meeting in June 2009, at which time he is expected to stand for re-election.

Donald received a Bachelor’s Degree in Business from Century University in Albuquerque, N.M.

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