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AmerisourceBergen celebrates Good Neighbor Pharmacy

BY Michael Johnsen

LAS VEGAS

Celebrating the 25th anniversary of its pharmacy network Good Neighbor Pharmacy at its July trade show, AmerisourceBergen officially rolled out a new pharmacy platform called Independent Edge that has been designed to improve community pharmacy performance across three core metrics—revenue and profit, improved patient care capability and increased operations efficiency.

“This is really a co-investment in the community pharmacy future,” Terry Haas, corporate senior vice president and president of AmerisourceBergen Drug, told a roundtable of reporters prior to the company’s opening general session.

Independent Edge consists of a three-pronged solution, the first of which will help independents better manage their front-end business. By profiling the independent pharmacy customer, AmerisourceBergen uncovered a portfolio of front-end products that help generate foot traffic, and has designed a planogram that will portfolios and aggregate that demand, what we do is raise the overall penetration in your pharmacies.” Across 20 pilot test stores, the front-end strategy across OTC categories generated between a 9 percent and 21 percent revenue lift.

The program also includes coaching on pharmacy business management and a platform of patient care services that “will help change the game with the managed care [business] as it exists today and ward off this trend toward mandatory mail and scripts leaving the pharmacy,” Haas said. In 13 pilot test stores, the business coaching contributed between $5,000 and $30,000 to the pharmacy’s bottom line profits per year.

AmerisourceBergen will execute a controlled roll out of Independent Edge through 2008 with the objective of having full adoption by the end of 2008.

As part of the introduction of Independent Edge, AmerisourceBergen officially rebranded its Performance Plus Network, a managed care network, to Good Neighbor Pharmacy Provider Network. According to AmerisourceBergen, the managed care network represents the largest network of community pharmacies in the country, with approximately 5,000 Good Neighbor Pharmacies and affiliates as its members.

All of AmerisourceBergen’s bets ride on community pharmacy. But it’s not a gamble, emphasized AmerisourceBergen chief executive officer David Yost. “We’ve become totally committed to the business you’re in,” he told an audience of 8,131 mostly independent pharmacy operators—Good Neighbor Pharmacy boasts a network of more than 2,700 stores. Though Yost claimed that the number of GNP storefronts was small, yet. AmerisourceBergen expects to attract some 800 more independents to the GNP model over the next year, he said.

Those who do sign up to the GNP model will not be encumbered with a long-term contract, Yost emphasized. “The fact that they can leave, that’s a strength in my opinion,” Yost said. “That’s the right way to run a program—[AmerisourceBergen] has to win their business every day.”

As part of its efforts to boost its independent pharmacy partnership rolls, AmerisourceBergen is targeting pharmacy school students. “Getting the word out to young pharmacists is a challenge,” Yost said. “The platform that we have will make it easier.” There is a really keen awareness among students that independents need that backbone economy of scale, leverage and reach that a partnership through Good Neighbor Pharmacy would afford them.

Haas reinforced that AmerisourceBergen is committed to the community pharmacy business. “This is a fundamental shift in our relationship” with you, he said. “We do not target the big-box chains; we do not target PBMs [or] mail order. [Community pharmacy] is our space.”

Accordingly, Haas noted that AmerisourceBergen has successfully divested its long-term pharmacy care business. “We made a conscious decision to get out of that space—that’s your space [and] we didn’t want to compete with our customer,” Haas said.

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Jeffrey Dunn joins American Greetings’ board

BY Doug Desjardins

CLEVELAND American Greetings has appointed Jeffrey Dunn to its board of directors where he’ll fill a vacancy for a term set to expire in 2008. Dunn most recently served as president of Nickelodeon Film Enterprises and as chief operating officer of Nickelodeon Networks Group.

“We are delighted to have Jeff join us,” said chief executive officer Zev Weiss. “American Greetings will benefit from his business acumen and expertise, particularly with regard to digital content and licensing.” Dunn graduated from Harvard and went on to earn an MBA from Harvard Business School.

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FujiFilm Offers Pre-Paid Mailers

BY Doug Desjardins

VALHALLA, N.Y. FujiFilm has debuted pre-paid mailers that make it easier for customers to have their film processed and delivered to their homes. The new program allows customers to buy the pre-paid mailers when they purchase their Fuji film or single-use camera.

“This program offers the consumer value and convenience,” said Rafi Haqqani, senior product manager for one-time-use cameras for Fujifilm. “It brings quality Fujicolor processing right to the consumers’ doorstep with easy-to-use postage-paid mailers.”

The suggested retail price for the pre-paid film mailer is $15.99 and the pre-paid single-use camera mailer is $17.99. Prints come in the standard 4 x 6 size and are mailed back in 7-10 days.

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