PHARMACY

Q&A: Information as empowerment — Chris Dimos, president of pharmacy, Supervalu

BY Michael Johnsen

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. Chris Dimos, president of pharmacy at Supervalu, shared with Drug Store News some of the vision behind Supervalu’s health and wellness initiatives.

Drug Store News: What is the vision behind Supervalu’s health/wellness initiatives?

Chris Dimos: Our vision and mission behind health and wellness is really to make it easier for all of our customers to manage any health conditions they may have, or maintain good health. We believe that by providing a single destination where customers can find fresh food selections and access to our full service pharmacies, we can help our customers achieve their health goals, whatever they may be.

Pharmacy is one component of this vision. We see Supervalu Pharmacies as the empowerment zone in our stores where people can come in and get the information they need to make informed food and pharmacy choices. We really want to be a resource — to meet the customer [on their terms], and be able to help them make educated decisions that are going to make them successful [in pursuit of a] healthier lifestyle.

The fact that we’re located inside a neighborhood supermarket means that the access to important wellness services are just around the corner. In addition to our convenient locations, we offer services by appointment and we offer evening and weekend hours, which means that even our most time-starved customers can have convenient opportunity to take advantage of our clinical services.

DrSN: What are the goals to be achieved through Supervalu’s health/wellness initiatives?

Dimos: Ultimately we want our customers to be as healthy as they possibly can and maintain a healthier lifestyle. If we can make it easier for  our customers to access the services, information and products that help them achieve their goals, it fits right into our mission. With a lot of people, we know that just a few simple steps can really change outcomes and either help them live better with the complication they have or help them avoid serious complications down the line. So what our pharmacies want to be is a partner in helping customers achieve their health and wellness goals. The end game for us is when people are healthier, feeling better and are able to live a more fulfilling life.

DrSN: So what are the learnings to date? 

Dimos: One of our more significant understandings is that our customers respond very well to convenience. We’ve also learned that initially, a lot of our patients are unaware about how well a pharmacist fits into the healthcare triad—doctor, patient and pharmacist—and how the clinical services we offer can help their overall wellness efforts. Our pharmacists are able to demonstrate and articulate the value of that service to our patients so they can then make the connection between the resources that we offer and the solutions they need when they’re sick or when they’re looking for information.

After the first encounter with our folks, people are really impressed. They’re pleased by the convenience and they know that they can get certain services on a walk-up basis, or if they desire, they can  make appointments for our expanded services.

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Walgreens offering free review sessions to Medicare Part D beneficiaries

BY Allison Cerra

DEERFIELD, Ill. Walgreens now is offering free review sessions to Medicare Part D beneficiaries at all of its more than 7,100 pharmacies throughout the country.

Following the open enrollment period for Medicare Part D insurance plans, Walgreens is assisting those beneficiaries who’ve made changes to their prescription drug coverage. Review sessions with Walgreens pharmacists are available daily by appointment through Jan. 31, and are designed to help patients maximize their plan benefits.

Review sessions include:

  • A review of beneficiary’s current medications, tiers within their selected plan, co-pays and cost-savings opportunities
  • Discussion of available health and wellness services including pneumonia and shingles vaccinations and 90-day prescription benefits
  • Checks for potential drug interactions

Customers can call their nearest Walgreens pharmacy to schedule an appointment. Visit www.walgreens.com or call 1-800-Walgreens for store locations and hours.

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Watson files FDA application for generic LoSeasonique

BY Allison Cerra

MORRISTOWN, N.J. Watson Labs, a subsidiary of specialty pharmaceutical company Watson Pharmaceuticals, has filed an abbreviated new drug application to the Food and Drug Administration for an oral contraceptive.

Watson is seeking approval to market its levonorgestrel and ethinyl estradiol (0.10-mg/0.02-mg) oral contraceptive product prior to the expiration of U.S. Patent No. 7,615,545, which is owned by Duramed Pharmaceuticals, a subsidiary of Teva.  Watson’s levonorgestrel and ethinyl estradiol product is a generic version of Teva’s LoSeasonique, which is indicated for the prevention of pregnancy.

On Nov. 23, 2009, pursuant to the Hatch-Waxman Act, Watson notified Duramed that its ANDA requesting approval from the FDA for a generic version of LoSeasonique contained a paragraph IV certification asserting that the LoSeasonique patent is invalid, unenforceable and/or not infringed.  Teva Women’s Health filed suit against Watson on Jan. 6, 2010 in the U.S. District Court for the District of New Jersey seeking to prevent Watson from commercializing its product prior to the expiration of U.S. Patent No. 7,615,545.  Based on available information, Watson believes it may be entitled to 180 days of generic market exclusivity or shared exclusivity should its product receive approval.

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