PHARMACY

BioScrip unites community, specialty Rx

BY Alaric DeArment

As a specialty pharmacy provider, BioScrip probably isn’t the first name that comes to mind when one hears “retail pharmacy,” but its network of 31 community pharmacies around the country gives it a comfy spot at the table. The kinds of products and services it’s able to offer — ranging from home infusion and treatments for complex, chronic disease states to over-the-counter medications and sometimes even consumables — as a result of its combination of community pharmacy and specialty pharmacy make BioScrip stand out.


In July 2010, it spent $10.5 million to close the purchase of DS Pharmacy, the prescription drugs business of Drugstore.com, a deal that also included an agreement whereby customers could order prescription drugs from BioScrip through the Drugstore.com website. In March, Walgreens purchased the remaining portions of Drugstore.com for $429 million.


In February, BioScrip launched a Web-based service at MyBioScrip.com designed to connect healthcare professionals, patients and caregivers in order to help patients manage their medications and improve their overall care experience. The site uses HealthyCircles, an online platform that enables people to manage and share health information. “It’s time we created a patient-
centric model in the specialty space, and BioScrip is proud to be the first,” said Rick Smith, who replaced Richard Friedman as CEO in January.


Perhaps not surprisingly, the company’s strategy and approach to pharmacy has earned it a healthy amount of recognition. Last month, the Washington-based healthcare accrediting organization URAC awarded BioScrip its specialty pharmacy and mail-service pharmacy accreditation. Gaining the accreditation required it to participate in a complex application process that included comprehensive review of its customer service and clinical pharmacy processes against a combined 146 quality standards by expert analysts.


In addition to its community pharmacies, BioScrip operates 33 home nursing locations, 45 home infusion locations, three mail-service facilities and two contract-affiliated infusion pharmacies.


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PHARMACY

Rx focus pulls Kinney through recession

BY Antoinette Alexander

While the economic downturn battered retailers across all channels, new pharmacy services and a new state-of-the-art pharmacy system has helped regional player Kinney Drugs weather the storm.


Kinney Drugs, which opened its first store in 1903 and today operates 90 locations, completed in 2010 the rollout of its new pharmacy system and, as a result, is now able to offer new services such as ReadyScripts. ReadyScripts is an automated refill program that is married with outbound messaging for patient reminders and free prescription delivery for those patients with little or no mobility.


Through a partnership with a central New York hospital, Kinney Drugs also is offering computer-assisted dispensing machines for the home setting and mobility chairs.


Kinney Drugs previously had been providing vaccinations only at its Vermont locations but, thanks to changes in New York state regulations, the retailer is now offering immunizations in its New York pharmacy locations as of mid-2010.


Looking ahead, the company indicated that it is planning to grow its store base by 2% to 4% each year, and also is interested in acquiring independent operators to establish a customer base in 
new markets.

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Meijer disputes belief that nothing is free

BY Alaric DeArment

The Midwest is known for flat landscapes and fertile farm fields stretching to the horizon, but it also is home to one of the country’s oldest and most successful mass merchandise chains — one with a long history of strong emphasis on pharmacy programs.


Where a growing number of chains have adopted generic discount programs, Meijer has taken to giving many drugs away for free. The list of medications that customers can obtain at no charge now includes metformin for Type 2 diabetes, prenatal vitamins and most antibiotics.


The chain also offers a variety of screenings for diabetes, cholesterol, liver function and blood pressure, as well as programs for combating obesity, such as body mass index and weight management information and education. Immunizations offered include seasonal flu, pneumococcal and shingles vaccines, all available on a walk-up basis.


The company, which currently has 195 stores, plans to open two more in the fall and has been expanding in Chicago with small-format stores of 90,000 sq. ft. that are focused on grocery and pharmacy.

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