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BY DSN STAFF

AmerisourceBergen, which earlier this year launched its newest product, the Auto-Med Efficiency Pharmacy R800, a robotic prescription dispensing device that can fill more than 200 labeled prescriptions an hour, has just opened a new facility in Buffalo Grove, Ill.

The company’s sub-unit AmerisourceBergen Technology Group is relocating from Vernon Hills to Buffalo Grove to provide its 180 employees increased space for research and development, as well as state-of-the-art showrooms for its pharmacy automation systems.

QS/1 has three new products to add to its automation provider company. The first, the QS/1 Message Center, sends an instant message to specific workstations, alerting personnel of important information that may need immediate attention. These message alerts can be targeted at customers in specific regions or at those who utilize specific products or third parties to ensure the messages are delivered only to those who need the information.

The company also has added features to its Interactive Voice Response. The Refill Reminder Call notifies patients that a prescription is due to be refilled and if a pharmacy has the proper technology, can lead to a prescription being refilled and ready for pickup. Finally, the QS/1 Remote Backup Service provides CRx customers the technology to achieve HIPAA requirements by encrypting patient information and transmitting it to data centers for storage.

Cerner Etreby has developed its flagship retail product, the Chain Pharmacy Management System, into a leading-edge technology that meets the needs for real-time information access, central fill options and effortless reporting capabilities, which is put into a Windows interface. The company also offers ApotheCare Medical Therapy Management, which pharmacists can use to access patient medication therapy, as well as to give a patient a Medication Action Plan, which is produced by the pharmacist, physician, other healthcare providers and the patient themselves. The ApotheCare program is part of the Chain Pharmacy Management System, thereby extending the amount of information a pharmacist can have to use for his patients’ benefit.

The SupplyScape Corp. and Pfizer have entered into an agreement in which the pharmaceutical manufacturer licenses Supply-Scape’s E-Pedigree data management software to enhance patient safety, secure the drug supply channel and meet regulatory compliance requirements.

E-Pedigree provides a secure chain of custody for a prescription drug by creating an electronic record or pedigree to trace each distribution of a given drug, from the first sale by the manufacturer until the final sale to a pharmacy dispensing the drug. Pfizer’s plan to implement E-Pedigree expands its channel security initiatives, which also include Supply-Scape’s RxAuthentication product.

RxAuthentication enables pharmacies and wholesalers to verify the authenticity and status of the serial number on packages of Pfizer’s Viagra at any time.

In an effort to help pharmacies make customer service a priority, Varolii has partnered with some of the top pharmacy chains to drive down the costs of medication fulfillment, increase patient adherence and free up valuable pharmacist time by deploying a range of automated communications.

A few of the applications Varolii offers are: New to Therapy, which educates patients to a new type of therapy and asks them questions to identify if they’re at risk for non-adherence. Refill Reminder and Overdue, Last Fill and Auto Fill run the course of a prescription lifecycle. An Information Therapy calls patients routinely and asks them to enter their weight, which can be a predictor of not taking a medication properly.

Kirby Lester has been involved in prescription filling for almost four decades. The company has created counting machines that have cut down on wait times and increased the accuracy of prescription filling. The company backs all of its products with a guaranteed 99.97 percent accuracy rate in prescription filling compared with a 95 percent human accuracy rate.

The company was bought in September 2005 by Garry Zage and is looking at 2008 as a time of changes with product introduction. It also has announced that it is moving from its original headquarters in Stamford, Conn., to Lake Forest, Ill.

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Fred’s reports both monthly and quarterly record sales

BY Allison Cerra

MEMPHIS, Tenn. Fred’s Inc. reported record sales for the five-week and eight-month periods which ended Oct. 6, 2007.

The company said Friday that its total sales for the month increased 2 percent to $161.4 million compared to the same period last year. Total sales for the year-to-date period increased 5 percent to $1.157 billion.

Same store sales for the month rose 1 percent on top of a 5 percent increase in September last year. On a comparable store basis, sales increased 1.3 percent through the first eight months of fiscal 2007 compared with a 2.7 percent gain in the year-earlier period. Same-store sales are a key predictor of how well the company performs in stores that have been open for several years, and how well the newly open stores will do in the future.

“September sales came in at the low end of our forecasted range of a 1 percent to 3 percent increase, affected by unusually warm weather across our markets and the disruption caused by the updating of 98 stores under our refresher program,” said Fred’s Stores chief executive officer Michael J. Hayes. “We look forward to finishing our refresher program in October with the last 60 stores and to a better economic environment for our customers going forward, as the benefits of the minimum wage increase and the focus of Federal Reserve Board on the credit crunch take hold.”

Fred’s opened four stores at the end of September, bringing total store openings to 22 for the year-to-date period. These new store openings have been balanced by the company’s decision to close underperforming stores. In the remaining months, Fred’s Stores said that it plans to open 14 additional stores, with no further planned closings, which will result in a net increase in stores of 2 percent for the year.

Fred’s Inc. operates 702 discount general merchandise stores, including 24 franchised stores in the southeastern United States.

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Target to open another 61 stores nationwide

BY Allison Cerra

MINNEAPOLIS Target announced that it will be opening an additional 61 Target stores, the company said Friday.

The stores, which will all open Oct. 14, will open in 22 different states. The majority of the stores are making their debut in Arizona, California, Ohio and Texas.

In addition to offering the latest in trend-right merchandise, Target also brings a 44-year tradition of community involvement. The retail chain commits itself to local communities donating more than $3 million each week to area nonprofit organizations, becoming involved in local volunteerism efforts through Target Volunteers, and orchestrating other special projects that help meet area social service, arts and education needs.

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