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Western Union to launch stage-and-pay kiosk model via the Walgreens Balance Financial platform

BY Michael Johnsen

ENGLEWOOD, Colo. — The Western Union Co. and Walgreens on Wednesday launched international and domestic money transfers through a new Western Union stage-and-pay kiosk model via the Walgreens Balance Financial platform.
 
“In keeping with our goal to be first choice for health and daily living for everyone in America and beyond, Walgreens will offer Western Union Money Transfer transactions as part of our expanding suite of financial services," stated Jason Dubinsky, VP and treasurer Walgreens. "Components like money-transfer transactions empower customers by giving them easy access to powerful financial tools,” he said. “By giving customers the ability to send and receive money at our stores, we are delivering on our promise to offer financial services that provide convenience and value.”
 
Customers can now send or receive money at more than 7,650 Walgreens and Duane Reade locations in 49 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands. The transaction can be initiated at a kiosk using a photo touchscreen and finalized immediately on the same day. The service is available at Walgreens stores between 8 a.m. and 9 p.m.
 
The Walgreens roll-out follows Western Union’s multi-year agreement signed with the national drug store leader last year. The additional locations will also expand the Western Union U.S. agent location count to more than 50,000.
 
“Western Union’s advanced point of sale model enhances access and experience by simplifying process, granting control and facilitating speedy service end-to-end for customers," stated Odilon Almeida, president Western Union, Americas and European Union. “We are bridging retail experience with digital innovation delivering upon our omnichannel strategy, while making it simple and fast for our customers. We are pleased to be rolling out this breakthrough service model in collaboration with Walgreens.” 
 
Western Union plans to roll out its quick and simple stage-and-pay point-of-sale model via multiple channels, including customer service hotlines, smartphone applications and kiosks.
 
Western Union services are a part of Walgreens suite of financial service products.
 
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Rite Aid September sales up 4.5% to $2 billion

BY Michael Johnsen

CAMP HILL, Pa. — Rite Aid on Thursday reported $2 billion in sales for the four weeks ended Sept. 27, representing a 4.5% increase over the comparable year-ago period. 
 
Same-store sales increased 5.1% over the prior-year period, including a 2.3% lift in front-end same-store sales and growth of 6.3% in pharmacy comparable sales. Pharmacy same-store sales included an approximate 225 basis points negative impact from new generic introductions. Prescription count at comparable stores increased 4.4% over the prior-year period.
 
Prescription sales accounted for 69.5% of drug store sales, and third party prescription sales represented 97.6% of pharmacy sales.
 
Year-to-date, same-store sales for the 30-week period ended Sept. 27 increased 3.8% over the prior-year period. Front-end same-store sales increased 0.8% while pharmacy same-store sales increased 5.2%. Prescription count at comparable stores increased 3.2% over the prior-year period.
 
Total drug store sales for the 30 weeks ended Sept. 27 increased 3.3% with sales of $14.9 billion. Prescription sales represented 68.7% of total drug store sales, and third party prescription sales represented 97.5% of pharmacy sales.
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CVS Health Insights Report tackles issue of medication adherence

BY Antoinette Alexander

WOONSOCKET, R.I. — CVS Health Research Institute published Thursday a new Insights Report that reviews the company's key research findings on medication adherence and lays out its goal to increase adherence by 5% to 15% through new interventions by 2017.

For the past several years, the CVS Health Research Institute has been focused on building the body of scientific knowledge available related to medication adherence and, through various research collaborations, has published or presented more than 50 adherence-focused papers in peer-reviewed journals and at various clinical conferences. The Insights Report, entitled, "Adherence: why it's so hard and what we can do about it," describes complex adherence challenges and actions that can make adherence easier while helping to lower overall costs.

"The reasons why people don't take their medications for chronic conditions as prescribed by their health care provider are very personal and complex," stated William Shrank, chief scientific officer of CVS Health. "Over the past several years CVS Health has invested in research to help the industry better understand medication non-adherence. Our goal now is to apply this knowledge and develop new interventions that will enable us to improve adherence for the patients we support."

The new Insights publication focuses on four areas of CVS Health medication adherence research to date, serving as a resource illustrating the impact of the issue of medication adherence on the health care system. In each section, the report summarizes relevant research and highlights programs and initiatives designed to address the identified issues. The four areas include:

•    Adherence starts when the prescription is written: How to reduce primary non-adherence, those instances when the patient does not pick up their first fill for a prescription.
•    Pharmacist counseling and support can make a difference: The report details the innovations implemented by CVS Health to enable effective counseling at its retail pharmacies.
•    The hard work of adherence takes place at home: How best to support patients in their day-to-day medication regimens based on their individual needs and barriers.
•    The role pharmacy benefit plan designs play in supporting adherence: Strategic plan design can help by reducing barriers such as cost, medication complexity and forgetfulness.

"We are actively piloting and testing a number of interventions to help make it easier for our patients to be more adherent," added Shrank. "For example, we know through our research that it is difficult for patients to be optimally adherent when they have numerous health care providers, take multiple medications with different dosing regimens, and make several trips a month to the pharmacy to pick up prescriptions. As a result we are actively engaged in a variety of pilots to test prescription synchronization programs and innovative medication labeling and packaging."

 

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