Absorbing the lessons from NACDS Total Store Expo
It’s been a week since the National Association of Chain Drug Stores wrapped up its massive Total Store Expo pow-wow in Las Vegas. Hundreds of retail pharmacy industry vendors have broken down their exhibits and cleared the cavernous Sands Expo Center for the next big event. By last Wednesday, the exodus of more than 5,700 exhausted conference-goers from Sin City had slowed to a trickle.
Now those thousands of participants are back at their jobs. And so begins for them the long process of assimilating the flood of information they absorbed at NACDS TSE. Among the dizzying lineup of seminars and discussion groups at this broad-based event were plenty of topics for both pharmacy leaders and front-end merchants, ranging from health reform and the emergence of accountable care organizations, new collaborative patient-care models and telehealth, to techniques for adapting to today’s digitally empowered consumer and smartphone-assisted shopping.
Running Aug. 10 to 13 at the Sands Expo and Convention Center, TSE combined three major NACDS conferences: Pharmacy and Technology, Marketplace and Supply Chain and Logistics. It was the biggest single event in the chain pharmacy group’s history, and it packed a full schedule of speeches, educational sessions and vendor-sponsored get-togethers into its four-day format. Among the highlights: talks by former senator and secretary of state Hillary Clinton, NACDS president and CEO Steve Anderson and chairman Bob Narveson of Thrifty-White; an update on the pharmaceutical market by Doug Long, IMS Health VP-industry relations; and a panel on the “new healthcare landscape” moderated by NACDS’ government affairs chief, Carol Kelly.
Also not to be missed: a full-strength performance at the final NACDS “Vegas Extravaganza” party by The Who’s Roger Daltrey. One of the best concerts I’ve ever witnessed at an industry event, and thanks to NACDS for bringing in him and his band – which included co-founder Pete Townsend’s brother Simon, if not Pete himself, and a stable of excellent musicians who replicated The Who’s sound flawlessly.
Drug Store News was at TSE full-strength, covering the event from top-to-bottom and publishing a 52-page daily edition. Highlights can be found at the DSN website, Drugstorenews.com, along with my coverage of the meeting of the National Alliance of State Pharmacy Associations and even slide shows of conference highlights.
Were you there? If so, feel free to share your experiences and impressions of this massive gathering.
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CVS Caremark hosts grand opening of new mail service pharmacy, customer center
WOONSOCKET, R.I. — CVS Caremark held a grand opening event on Tuesday at its new mail service pharmacy and customer center in Mt. Prospect, Ill.
The 150,000-sq.-ft. facility, representing an investment of approximately $67 million, supports pharmacy inventory and fulfillment needs across the CVS Caremark PBM book of business, which serves approximately 60 million members throughout the United States. With the capability to fill 50 million prescriptions annually, this new facility is an example of CVS Caremark’s continued investment and commitment to the State of Illinois, the company stated.
(Larry Merlo, president and CEO of CVS Caremark, gives Governor Quinn of Illinois a tour of the new mail service pharmacy in Mt. Prospect)
CVS Caremark hosted a ribbon-cutting ceremony and a tour of its new Mt. Prospect facility. Company officials also took the opportunity to recognize and thank supporters from the state and region who helped make the development of the Mt. Prospect mail service pharmacy possible. Fifty-nine Illinois-based businesses were used during the construction of the facility.
The new facility will employ more than 400 people by the end of 2013, including pharmacists, pharmacy technicians, automation technicians and process-improvement engineers. Technology at the facility enables 90% of prescriptions to be dispensed and 80% of prescriptions to be packaged for mailing, using full automation. In addition, in order to further assure safe and accurate dispensing, all prescriptions are visually checked by one of the on-site pharmacists before they are mailed.
"This new CVS Caremark mail service pharmacy and customer center is a great example of our commitment as a pharmacy innovation company to helping people on their path to better health," stated Larry Merlo, president and CEO of CVS Caremark. "The combination of technologically advanced automation and the expertise of our highly qualified pharmacy teams help us ensure people have convenient access to affordable medications."
"We are pleased that CVS Caremark chose to build this new state-of-the-art facility in Mt. Prospect, Illinois," said Governor Pat Quinn. "I am happy to have the opportunity to participate in this ribbon-cutting event today, and appreciate the role that CVS Caremark plays both as a national healthcare innovator and as an employer in our community."
The facility also includes a CVS Caremark customer center complete with an executive briefing room designed to introduce clients and future partners to CVS Caremark’s integrated programs and services. Video and touchscreen technology illustrate the CVS Caremark story and allow direct interaction with CVS retail pharmacists, specialty pharmacists and mail service pharmacists, as well as with Minute Clinic nurse practitioners, via real-time telepresence technology.
In combination with the mail service pharmacy capabilities, the customer center offers opportunities to work with clients and partners to identify and develop solutions that leverage the full CVS Caremark enterprise for improving access, cost and quality for patients and payers.
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Southeast Asian generics market projected to grow
KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia — A variety of macroeconomic factors are driving growth in the generic drug market in Southeast Asia.
According to CPhI, which is sponsoring the CPhI Southeast Asia Summit 2013 in Bangkok next month, the drug industry in the region is projected to grow to $3.9 billion by 2016, and macroeconomic factors, such as government policies, stable economies and growing population are driving generics.
"Generics will grow in the next five to 10 years, but without a balanced environment for cultivating innovation, such development will not be sustainable," Bayer Healthcare, China, senior patent attorney and conference speaker Jennifer Jian Kang said.
Government policies include plans by the Indonesian government to implement universal health coverage. "This is a huge undertaking by a government who, within the next four years, has targeted touching on over 90% of the population — a huge undertaking given Indonesia’s population of 240 million people," SOHO Group president, CEO and director Marcus Pitt said. "The pharmaceutical market dominated by local players has been gearing up its production and distribution infrastructure to cope with the expected multiple increases in generics."
The growth in generics, coupled with the fact that many governments in the region support local business, puts local generics manufacturers in a strong position. This means that most foreign companies will need to set up local partnerships, giving a welcome boost to local generics companies. - Penina Mezei, Attencia