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Bloomberg: Walgreens could sell additional assets to Fred’s

BY Brian Berk

DEERFIELD, Ill. — Walgreens Boots Alliance could be close to an agreement to sell more assets, including additional stores, distribution centers, software and personnel, to Fred’s Pharmacy in an effort to win Federal Trade Commission approval of its proposed agreement to acquire Rite Aid, according to Bloomberg, citing sources close to the talks.

“Walgreens could present the beefed-up package to the U.S. Federal Trade Commission within weeks, the [Bloomberg source] said, in hopes of satisfying the agency’s concerns after an initial proposal fell short,” the news outlet reported. It added that in addition to the FTC, at least a dozen states attorneys general had “scrutinized the deal.”

As part of the sweetened deal, Fred’s would also get the rights to the Rite Aid brand name for an extended period beyond the 24-month period outlined in the original deal, Bloomberg added in its report. “Senior Rite Aid executives could also move over to Fred’s, although exactly who and how many is still under discussion, according to the [source].”

Drug Store News reported one week ago that Walgreens was perhaps considering declaring it has “certified compliance” in its Rite Aid merger, forcing the FTC to vote on the proposed transaction in 30 days.

The proposed Walgreens-Rite Aid transaction was first proposed in Oct. 2015. Fred’s was already set to acquire at least 865 divested Rite Aid locations.

Wall Street reacted positively to this news, lifting the stocks of Fred’s and Rite Aid each by more than 2 percent during Tuesday afternoon trading. 

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Upsher-Smith, NASPA name annual Excellence in Innovation award winners

BY DSN STAFF
MAPLE GROVE, Minn. — Upsher-Smith Laboratories, National Alliance of State Pharmacy Associations and state pharmacy associations recognized more than 40 pharmacists across the country with the 2016 NASPA Excellence in Innovation Award. The award is presented every year to pharmacists for their contribution to the pharmacy profession.
“Upsher-Smith is proud to continue our tradition of sponsoring the National Alliance of State Pharmacy Associations’ Excellence in Innovation Award that recognizes the critical role played by pharmacists in advancing patient care,” said Rusty Field, president, Upsher-Smith Labs. “We are pleased to honor these leaders and innovators for their efforts in the pharmacy profession across the country, and we look forward to a future working together to continue to help improve the lives of the people we serve.
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NACDS CEO promotes ‘access agenda’ in political newspaper

BY Brian Berk

ARLINGTON, Va. — The National Association of Chain Drug Stores positioned pharmacy patient care and collaboration across healthcare segments as vital to improving health and wellness nationwide. The column reflects NACDS’ “Access Agenda,” which reflects pharmacy’s collaborative approach to patient care and to public policy development, and is penned by NACDS president and CEO Steve Anderson.

“At least two significant challenges stymie health policymakers today — the search for effective and affordable access solutions, as well as for productive legislative collaboration,” wrote Anderson in his opening remarks. “As lawmakers in Washington continue to work toward finding healthcare solutions for families across the United States, the emerging story of pharmacies as the face of neighborhood healthcare may contain clues for advancing the health of Americans, and of the nation’s governing bodies as well.”

Anderson cited as a healthcare-delivery success the broad-based recognition of pharmacy’s vital role in providing vaccines — an evolution that gained momentum following the flu pandemic of 2009. He also noted the strong bipartisan support for the Pharmacy and Medically Underserved Areas Enhancement Act (H.R. 592 and S. 109) — legislation that would enhance underserved Medicare patients’ access to state-approved, pharmacist-provided services. In addition to urging proactive measures, he also noted the importance of doing no harm to pharmacy patient care, urging Congress to preserve pharmacy benefits and pharmacy services in Medicare and Medicaid amid any reviews of current programs.

“In healthcare delivery, as in healthcare policymaking, there is no panacea. However, lessons learned over the past decade — including those related to pharmacists’ enhanced vaccination authority — suggest that seeking improved access for patients through highly educated, trusted and accessible professionals like pharmacists can yield bipartisan accomplishments amid times of need,” Anderson wrote. “In this way, similar and additional initiatives — fueled by collaboration among various segments of healthcare delivery and by leaders in government — could notch progress toward remedies for patients, as well as for the policymaking and political arenas alike.”

To read the full column, click here.

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