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Walgreens pledges $100,000 to Boston’s first responders with flagship store opening

BY Michael Johnsen

DEERFIELD, Ill. — Walgreens on Wednesday will celebrate the official opening of its latest flagship store, located at School and Washington streets in Boston, the company announced Tuesday. 

“Walgreens is thrilled to provide a flagship location — unlike any traditional drugstore — in the thriving and resilient Downtown Crossing neighborhood,” stated Mark Wagner, Walgreens president of operations and community management. “We are transforming into a retail health and daily living destination that offers our customers unique and exceptional experiences to help them get, stay and live well.”

A ribbon cutting ceremony will commence the grand opening on May 1 at 10 a.m. In recognition of the work by first responders following the tragic events earlier this month in the Boston area, Walgreens will be presenting donations during the ceremony totaling more than $100,000 to the following local organizations: Boston Police Relief Association, Boston Fire Department Children’s Fund, Boston EMS Relief Association and One Fund Boson.

The location will showcase the "Boston Moves Kiosk." For consumers who interact with the Boston Moves portal, Walgreens gives residents the opportunity to join the city’s health initiative to lose 1 million pounds and move 10 million miles. The kiosk also lets users enroll in Balance Rewards, Walgreens customer loyalty program.

The store’s expanded features also include an enhanced pharmacy designed to encourage greater interaction between pharmacists and patients. At the core of this approach is an effort to bring the pharmacist out from behind the counter so they can provide more counseling to patients, offer clinical services and answer questions. The pharmacy also features an “Ask Your Pharmacist” desk, consultation rooms and an Express Rx kiosk for convenient checkout.

A LOOK Boutique beauty department featuring many prestige and niche cosmetic, skincare and hair care brands not typically found in drug stores is nearby. The beauty section will also display a broad selection of Britain’s leading skincare brand, No7, created by Boots. Specially-trained beauty advisors are on hand to offer guidance finding the best solutions for individual needs.

Befitting a flagship store, Walgreens will provide a robust selection of beer, wine and spirits and quality products appropriate to celebrate special occasions. A Beverage Wizard kiosk provides food and beverage pairing recommendations. And an outdoor café that acts as an extension of the interior space will feature patio seating.

 

 

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Report forecasts 0.2% growth in Mother’s Day spending this year

BY Alaric DeArment

LOS ANGELES — Growth in spending on Mother’s Day will be nearly flat this year as more Americans return to work and have less spare time, according to a new report by market research firm IBISWorld.

The report forecast a 0.2% rise in purchases on Mother’s Day gifts this year over last year, for a total of $17.1 billion.

Growth is expected to be strongest in easy-to-purchase items like flowers and gift certificates, which will grow by 3.9% and 2.2%, to $2.6 billion and $1.8 billion, respectively. Greeting cards will see a 5.3% decline, from last year’s $750 million to $710 million this year, while housewares and gardening items will decline by 3.5%, from last year’s $690 million to $660 million this year.

But overall Mother’s Day spending growth this year represents a huge drop from last year, which saw a 6.5% increase over 2011 as more Americans had disposable per capita income. The decline in greeting cards is due to a shift among consumers to e-cards, email and social networks.

 

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Cleaning out that medicine cabinet: Pharmacies help cut teen Rx abuse

BY Jim Frederick

Teens looking for something to get them high score drugs from friends, from friends of friends, from networks on campus or at school, or from dealers on the street. But increasingly, they’re also turning to another source: Mom and dad’s medicine cabinet.

A new national study shows that 1-out-of-4 teenagers has misused or abused a prescription medication at least once. A prime source of those drugs is the expired medications left in family medicine cabinets, according to a report from Drug Store News.

The Foundation for a Drug-Free World reports that almost half of teens surveyed believe Rx drugs are much safer than illegal street drugs, and “60% to 70% say that home medicine cabinets are their source of drugs.”

The Partnership at Drugfree.org and MetLife Foundation say teen misuse of prescription drugs has jumped 33% in the past five years. Every day in the United States, 2,500 kids ages 12 to 17 years abuse a prescription pain reliever for the first time, according to the Foundation for a Drug-Free World. The National Institute on Drug Abuse reports that “prescription and OTC drugs are the most commonly abused substances by high school seniors after marijuana and alcohol.”

Hence, the urgency behind initiatives like National Drug Take Back Day and the Medicine Abuse Project from The Partnership at Drugfree.org. The goal is to prevent a half million teenagers from abusing prescription medication by the year 2017.

Papatya Tankut, VP of pharmacy affairs at CVS Caremark, a prime sponsor of the abuse project, says that “safely disposing of unwanted drugs…can help prevent the ingestion of expired medication that may have lost its effectiveness while also potentially keeping it out of the wrong hands."

This isn’t just an exercise in managing the disposal of old medicines. “Prescription drug abuse causes the largest percentage of deaths from drug overdosing,” notes the Foundation for a Drug-Free World. “Of the 22,400 drug overdose deaths in the U.S. in 2005, opioid painkillers were the most commonly found drug, accounting for 38.2% of these deaths.”

So drug take-back programs offered by community pharmacies like CVS might actually save a life by making it easy and convenient for parents to clear out their medicine cabinets and keep dangerous narcotics and other meds out of the hands of their kids.

If pharmacists and pharmacies can’t play a part in that effort, who can? As always, your comments are welcome.

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