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Building a bridge between retail, specialty Rx

BY Alaric DeArment

A growing number of retailers are discovering the benefits of offering specialty pharmacy services, including a Midwest supermarket pharmacy chain.

Hy-Vee announced in January that it would start a partnership with Omaha, Neb.-based Amber Pharmacy to offer specialty services throughout Hy-Vee’s retail stores in a joint venture called Hy-Vee Pharmacy Solutions. The aim is to create a single point of contact to handle patients’ pharmacy needs, including medication therapy management and access to diet and nutrition services. Hy-Vee said the venture, headquartered in Omaha, eventually would provide services to customers in all of the eight states in which Hy-Vee operates.

“Hy-Vee Pharmacy Solutions builds a bridge between two different segments of the pharmacy business,” said Bob Egeland, Hy-Vee VP pharmacy operations. “We’re bringing together experts from retail pharmacy and specialty pharmacy to offer more convenient, personalized service for patients with complex healthcare needs.”

Services include a phone service offered 24 hours a day, seven days a week with live personal care coordinators, and the option of having specialty medications made available for pickup at a Hy-Vee pharmacy or delivered to a customer’s home, office or other location.

HY-VEE

Headquarters: West Des Moines, Iowa2009 sales: $6.4 billion% change vs. 2008: 3.2%No. of stores: 228*No. of stores with Rx: 222*Avg. store size: 70,000 sq. ft.Rx sales: $864 million% of sales from Rx: 13.5%Sales per store: $28 million

* Includes 202 supermarkets and 26 stand-alone drug storesSource: Drug Store News

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Schnucks’ O’Brien to serve on Department of Agriculture advisory committee

BY Alaric DeArment

ST. LOUIS An executive from Schnuck Markets will serve on an advisory committee of the Department of Agriculture, Schnucks said this week.

Agriculture secretary Tom Vilsack announced that Schnucks VP produce and floral Mike O’Brien would be one of 25 people appointed to a two-year term on the USDA’s Fruit and Vegetable Industry Advisory Committee. O’Brien is also vice chairman of the Produce Marketing Association.

 

“I am honred to represent Schnuck Markets and the retail produce industry as a member of this committee,” O’Brien said. “I am looking forward to the opportunity to contribute and to make a difference for families across the nation.”

The committee, originally chartered in 2001, advises the secretary of agriculture on industry issues related to fruits and vegetables.

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Gilead commences phase 3 trial for single-tablet HIV treatment

BY Alaric DeArment

FOSTER CITY, Calif. Gilead Sciences has started a late-stage clinical trial of an investigational 4-in-1 treatment for HIV, the drug maker said.

Gilead announced the initiation of a phase 3 trial of its “Quad” HIV drug, a single-tablet treatment that combines elvitegravir, cobicistat, emtricitabine and tenofovir disoproxil fumarate. The study will compare the Quad regimen with the standard of care among adults with HIV-1 who have not taken antiretroviral treatments. The company is also investigating cobicistat as a standalone boosting agent for antiretroviral drugs.

“We are pleased to announce that the Quad phase 3 clinical program is underway,” Gilead EVP research and development and chief scientific officer Norbert Bischofberger said. “Efficacy and safety results from the phase 2 study suggest that the Quad may represent an important new option for patients with HIV.”

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