National Diabetes Awareness Month can help promote vital role pharmacists play
The approach of National Diabetes Awareness Month in November offers a timely opportunity for pharmacists and their staff to review the important role they play in supporting the more than 30 million people who are managing this chronic condition and to create loyalty. I’ve identified three things that pharmacies, particularly those co-located with grocery or club stores, can do to support patients as they manage their diabetes.
Nutrition is incredibly important in a person’s overall health, and eating well and consuming the right foods are essential to patients looking to manage their diabetes. Pharmacists are a natural resource for patients looking to access information and counseling around healthy eating habits. Often, patients express frustration with their dietary restrictions and boredom caused by eating repetitive-tasting meals. Pharmacists can be helpful through these challenging times by providing patients with such resources as a diabetes-friendly shopping list featuring new and diet-appropriate products, or a fact sheet on the benefits of foods that can help regulate their blood sugar levels.
A focus on nutrition services is particularly strategic for pharmacies located in grocery and club stores because of their proximity to relevant departments or products. Pharmacists in these retail settings can walk patients through the aisles and help them pick out the right products to manage their blood glucose levels. These tactics can be executed throughout the year, but increasing and promoting these efforts in November will help catch a customer’s attention and drive customers to the pharmacy to learn more.
Exercise is equally important for diabetic patients. Pharmacists can encourage individuals with diabetes to take control of their health through fitness trackers, which monitor health progress. In fact, over the last four years, the use of health wearables has nearly quadrupled, from 9% in 2014 to 33% in 2018. Through our research, we’ve found that family and friends are incredibly influential in supporting lifestyle changes. This insight is noteworthy as one of the most significant benefits of wearables is the gamification of exercise goals, which is complemented through friendly challenges with other diabetics, co-workers, friends or family. Pharmacists can promote wearables as a tool to ensure patients are mindful of their goals, while having built in a support system through positive reinforcement.
Pharmacies in stores where wearables are stocked in another department should consider using signage or establishing a temporary point-of-purchase display during key promotional months when health trackers may be of the greatest interest — e.g., November for National Diabetes Awareness Month or February for American Heart Month.
Finally, while wearables can serve as an instant mechanism to track health goals, social media often is the perfect complement. Platforms like Facebook and Twitter provide pharmacists with instant access to their patients. Grocery or club store pharmacists can use social media in November to drive awareness of pertinent information, including FAQs/medication information, healthy recipes, appointment scheduling, etc. By developing a strong online presence on social media, pharmacists can stay top-of-mind in and outside of the store, reinforcing their value with the patients they serve.
Whichever approach is appropriate for you, retailers with in-store pharmacies should realize they have a tremendous asset — a true, integrated healthcare destination right in the middle of their store. By providing all of the connective tissue a patient, particularly with a chronic condition, needs to be successful, pharmacies are creating the stickiness that will ensure patients continue to look to them for their healthcare needs.
FDA approves new Invokana indication
Janssen Pharmaceutical’s Invokana (canagliflozin) has a new approved indication. The Food and Drug Administration has approved the product to reduce the risk of major adverse cardiovascular events, including heart attack, stroke or death due to a cardiovascular cause in adults with Type 2 diabetes who have established cardiovascular disease, the company recently announced.
Invokana is the first and only oral diabetes treatment approved with this indication, the company said.
“This FDA approval makes Invokana the only oral Type 2 diabetes treatment indicated to reduce the risk of heart attack, stroke or [cardiovascular] death. It is an important step forward for patients and the physicians who treat them,” said James List, Janssen research and development global therapeutic area head, cardiovascular and metabolism. “Not only does Invokana enable patients to control their diabetes symptoms by lowering their A1C levels, but it now also helps protect them from potentially devastating cardiovascular events.”
Pharma Logistics lands government business contracts
Pharma Logistics has secured pharmaceutical reverse distribution contracts with various government agencies. The company recently announced contracts with the Department of Defense Outside Continental United States, the Department of Veteran’s Affairs, the Indian Health Service, the Federal Bureau of Prisons, and the Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency.
Pharma Logistics will service these agencies with programs focused on compliance, value and customer service while providing insight and analytics on the pharmaceutical returns process, the company said.
“Each of these government agencies represents tens of thousands of federal employees, service members, law enforcement officers and families,” said Pharma Logistics president and CEO Michael Zaccaro. “By partnering with Pharma Logistics for reverse distribution services, these agencies will improve compliance and quickly collect credits. This will help their staff focus less on pharmaceutical returns and more on patient care and the community.”