PHARMACY

National Hispanic Health Foundation launches National Hispanic Pharmacists Association

BY Sandra Levy

The National Hispanic Health Foundation, representing Hispanic and Hispanic-serving pharmacists, has launched the National Hispanic Pharmacists Association, or NHPA in collaboration with public and private sector partners including CVS Health, Walmart and PhRMA.

NHPA seeks to empower Hispanic pharmacists and other members of the healthcare community to lead efforts that will improve the health of Hispanic populations, which are currently underrepresented among health professionals.

“Given that by 2042, one out of four people living in the United States will be Latino, NHHF is excited to launch NHPA so that Hispanic pharmacists can develop programs and opportunities that can directly impact the health of Americans,” NHHF president Elena Rios said.

NHPA plans to offer a scholarship and mentorship program, as well as professional and continuing education opportunities.

The new organization plans to expand through new corporate partners, and will create regional student chapters in an effort to increase the number of Hispanic pharmacists in the future and further the organization’s outreach.

“Through my experiences in clinical practice and in working with Spanish-speaking patients, I’m confident that the NHPA will help address the health disparities that Hispanics face in the United States,” NHPA board of directors president Maria Hearns-Rivas said.

“CVS Health has a presence in nearly 10,000 communities across the country, and for our company to thrive, we need a highly trained, culturally diverse health care workforce that is reflective of the communities we serve,” CVS Health executive vice president and chief human resources officer Lisa Bisaccia said. “We are proud to be one of the founding corporate partners of the National Hispanic Pharmacists Association, and we look forward to working together to improve the health of Hispanic populations in the United States.”

“PhRMA is committed to partnering with organizations to improve the health of all communities. The work of the National Hispanic Pharmacists Association will go a long way toward improving health equity and access to needed treatments,” PhRMA vice president of medical affairs and strategic alliances Mike Ybarra said.

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PHARMACY

Kroger, GoodRx launch Kroger Rx Savings Club

BY David Salazar

Kroger has introduced a new way for its patients to save money. The company on Wednesday launched its Rx Savings Club, which it developed in partnership with prescription drug savings company GoodRx.

The Kroger Rx Savings Club — announced on the heels of its acquiring files from 42 Shopko pharmacies — offers patients discounts on common generic medications for such conditions as diabetes, asthma, mental health issues, women’s health, gastrointestinal health and heart health. Then program offers three tiers of low-cost medications — free 30-day and 90-day prescriptions; $3 30-day and $6 90-day prescriptions; and $6 30-day and $12 90-day prescriptions.

“Kroger is redefining the customer experience by introducing new Wellness Your Way offerings like the Kroger Rx Savings Club,” said Colleen Lindholz, president of Kroger Health. “Kroger operates nearly 2,200 pharmacies, serving millions of customers across America. Our new partnership with GoodRx provides cost savings for our customers in a simple, practical way and enables us to live our Kroger Health vision of helping people lead healthier lives.”

Kroger noted that more than 200 million prescriptions are left at the pharmacy because patients can’t afford them. Free medications include high blood pressure treatment amlodipine (brand name Norvasc), metformin IR for diabetes (brand name Glucophage); sertraline (brand name Zoloft) for mental health; and montelukast (brand name Singulair) for asthma, among others. The most popular prescription in America, according to GoodRx, atorvastatin, is in the tier that offers 30-day fills for $6 and 90-day fills for $12.

To join the Rx Savings Club, patients pay an annual fee of $36 for individuals or $72 for families of up to six people.

“Our mission is to help lower the cost of prescriptions in America, and we are very pleased to have worked with Kroger to develop such a significant Rx savings program,” said Jim Sheninger, GoodRx’s Pharmacy Strategy Officer. “The popularity of the medications included in these discounts, coupled with the extra low-cost pricing tiers, should result in meaningful savings for patients and families—savings that are absolutely critical in this high-priced healthcare landscape.”

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Shopko sells Rx files from 42 stores to Kroger

BY David Salazar

A new deal between Shopko and Kroger will see Kroger buying the files from 42 of Green Bay, Wis.-based Shopko’s stores. The stores — which only make up a portion of the retailer’s 227 pharmacy locations, but 25 of its 72 Wisconsin pharmacies — will see the pharmacies closed, with main stores and optical centers remaining open.

The companies said Kroger banners would service Shopko patients’ prescription needs. The locations include pharmacy counters in Idaho, Montana, Utah, Washington and Wisconsin.

Shopko and Kroger did not disclose financial terms of the deal. Kroger CEO Randy McMullen told the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel that the purchase is part of the company’s efforts to increase its presence in Wisconsin. He noted that Shopko pharmacy associates would be interviewed to “hopefully continue their careers with us.

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