PHARMACY

Building marketing clout

BY Jim Frederick

Created in September 2009 with the merger of Phoenix-based United Drugs and Scottsboro, Ala.-based Associated Pharmacies, AAP remains a member-owned cooperative and buying group offering independent operators the negotiating power of a national pharmacy network “working together like a chain.”

(Click here to view the full report.)

Last year, marketing director Emily Marino said, the cooperative “focused on three main initiatives that would align our members’ goals with that of the industry.”

To that end, AAP beefed up its Quality Center, an online resource for members that analyzes claims against Medicare’s Star ratings criteria and provides pharmacies with a daily activity list to improve adherence and medication safety scores.

“To ensure our pharmacies stay ahead of the curve, we designed tools and programs, such as the Quality Center, that help our pharmacies continue to provide superior quality service and participate effectively in these pay-for-performance programs,” said Rob McMahan, president of AAP’s United Drugs division.

In 2014, AAP also launched a major campaign to help its members gain entry into specialty medicines. “AAP launched AAP Specialty in 2014 for our pharmacies to be trained in-house and given the tools they need to become a specialty pharmacy,” Marino said.

The new specialty unit “provides a centralized hub service for our member pharmacies, and manages the clinical, financial, prior authorization, data aggregation, medication safety and adherence services,” Marino said.

AAP’s third major initiative has been “focused on enhancing our member-owned warehouse capabilities,” Marino told DSN. “In 2014, AAP developed a more streamlined process by installing automation equipment located in our Memphis distribution center,” she said. “This allows the API warehouse to continue providing next-day delivery at the best prices for our members.”

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PHARMACY

Grocery giants complete merger

BY Barbara White-Sax

Albertsons (AB Acquisition LLC) and Safeway completed their merger in early 2015, creating a new, privately owned supermarket pharmacy giant. The combined company should place Safeway/Albertsons among the top five supermarket retailers in the country.

(Click here to view the full report.)

At press time, Bob Miller was named CEO of the new company. Robert Edwards, former Safeway president and CEO, will continue as vice chairman.

The new company will be comprised of three regions and 14 retail divisions, supported by corporate offices in Boise, Idaho; Pleasanton, Calif.; and Phoenix. Banners will include Safeway, Vons, Pavilions, Randalls, Tom Thumb, Carrs, Albertsons, ACME, Jewel-Osco, Lucky, Shaw’s, Star Market, Super Saver, United Supermarkets, Market Street and Amigos. The company has not indicated that it will change the names of any of its stores.

Today, the company operates 2,230 grocery stores in 34 states and the District of Columbia.

In a statement at the time of the merger, Edwards said the larger company planned to continue its active local community focus, which will likely have a pharmacy concentration. In recognition of its outstanding immunization services, the American Pharmacists Association awarded Safeway its Corporate Immunization Champion award in 2014. APhA recognized the chain for its leading-edge position in immunization practice since the supermarket chain began offering immunization services in 2000.

The two chains offer a wide range of immunizations, health screenings and prescription savings programs. Safeway and Albertsons also have added Stayhealthy health kiosks to a number of locations. The combined company will likely extend Albertsons’ successful Diabetes Care Program to selected Safeway locations. The program enrolls patients with diabetes in diabetes seminars, diabetes management classes, or a six-month program of education and follow-up to encourage sustainable healthy lifestyle choices.

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Pushing the envelope in food, beauty

BY Antoinette Alexander

It has been a year since Loblaw Co. completed its acquisition of Shoppers Drug Mart in a $12.4 billion deal that created a retailing powerhouse.

(Click here to view the full report.)

Shoppers Drug Mart is tapping into Loblaw’s strengths and expertise as evidenced by the expansion of its fresh foods pilot. Since October, six Shoppers Drug Mart stores in Toronto have been piloting an improved convenience food offering, including fresh produce, meats and prepared meals. The pilot is expanding to Regina, where eight Shoppers Drug Marts are being renovated by May.

Also at the front end, Shoppers Drug Mart continues to push the envelope in beauty with its enhanced beautyBOUTIQUE. In August, the company unveiled its fourth location.

Housing 21 prestige brands, the beautyBOUTIQUE features new fixtures, digital signage, enhanced fragrance and dermatology areas.

Pharmacy, however, remains an extremely critical component of its business.

Among the more recent developments is that Shoppers Drug Mart pharmacists in Alberta can now offer flu screenings in store — a first for Canadian pharmacies. Patients can now get screened for influenza A or B using a new flu screening tool available exclusively at Shoppers Drug Mart. Results are available 10 minutes after the screening is administered. In Alberta, many pharmacists now have additional prescribing authorization, which gives them the ability to prescribe treatment depending on screening results.

To help curb medication errors and reduce hospital readmissions, five Shoppers Drug Mart locations in Greater Sudbury, Ontario, teamed up with Health Sciences North/Horizon Santé-Nord to launch a pilot project. Patients who are being discharged from North/Horizon Santé-Nord are advised to have a consultation with their Shoppers Drug Mart pharmacist to discuss all the medications they are currently taking, in addition to new medications prescribed.

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