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Cardinal Health’s Independence Medical unit helps pharmacy owners tap into growing home healthcare market

BY Alaric DeArment

SEATTLE — One of the fastest-growing segments in health care today is home health care, which is expected to become even more important over the next decade. To help independent pharmacies take advantage of the market, Cardinal Health is giving its customers access to more than 30,000 medical products through Independence Medical, the company said Friday, here in Seattle, at its annual Retail Business Conference for independent pharmacy owners.

Earlier this year, Cardinal Health acquired Twinsburg, Ohio-based Independence Medical, founded in 1990. The company is a major distributor of wholesale medical supplies, serving more than 12,000 commercial customers and carrying 30,000 SKUs across diabetes, wound care, urology, durable medical equipment and others.

"In today’s increasingly competitive healthcare landscape, it’s more important than ever before that community pharmacies find innovative ways to grow their businesses while meeting their patients’ evolving healthcare needs," Cardinal Health Pharmaceutical Segment president for U.S. Pharmaceutical Distribution Jon Giacomin said.

The numbers from the Bureau of Labor Statistics give an idea of how important home health care is and will continue to be. According to the BLS, more than 1.8 million people were employed as home health and personal care aides in 2010, a figure that is expected to rise by more than 1.3 million (70%) by 2020.

For its part, Cardinal Health said Independence Medical can deliver its products to 99% of the U.S. population within one to two business days, either to a pharmacy for in-store pickup or directly to the patient’s door, with the pharmacy’s name printed on the package. Pharmacies can use personalized catalogs, customized fliers and brochures, educational materials and package inserts tailored to specific patient demographics, as well as marketing tools to help pharmacies promote their medical product offerings and attract new customers.

Proprietary industry data can help pharmacies manage patient formularies and develop cross-selling opportunities that build customer loyalty and increase margins. Meanwhile, customers can order through the web, phone, fax or secure electronic platforms to provide customers with ordering flexibility and convenience.

"This new offering will help retail pharmacies diversify their revenue while also strengthening their role as a local healthcare destination in the communities they serve," Giacomin said.

To keep up with all the news from Cardinal Health RBC 2013, visit DrugStoreNews.com/Cardinal-Health-Retail-Business-Conference-2013.


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Medicine Shoppe, Medicap owners get a jumpstart on RBC 2013

BY Michael Johnsen

SEATTLE — Call it the conference BEFORE the conference.

Even before the official start of the Cardinal Health Retail Business Conference, Medicine Shoppe International and Medicap Pharmacy franchisees came together, here, Wednesday at the 2013 MSI National Meeting to explore future opportunities — both as franchisees and independent owners — and to learn how Cardinal Health can help their individual pharmacy businesses succeed.

Dubbed “New Horizons-New Perspectives,” the meeting kicked off with opening remarks from John Fiacco, VP Medicine Shoppe International. According to Fiacco, Medicine Shoppe is squarely focused on helping its franchise-owners meet the evolving healthcare needs of today’s more engaged and demanding pharmacy customer. The group is also focused on empowering its franchisees to operate as profitably and cost-effectively as possible.

“[Today] we will dive into the topics that are affecting your business and the changes that will affect you in the future,” Fiacco shared with attendees. “Specialty pharmacy, star ratings and narrow access are terms we hear every day. Do you understand what they mean and how they challenge your business? Is your pharmacy well-positioned for the future?”

Wednesday’s program also featured special guest speaker Dan Coughlin, president of the Coughlin Company. Coughlin, who works with business leaders to improve bottom-line results through execution, innovation and branding, has helped develop the brands of McDonald’s, Subway and the hometown team of Medicine Shoppe’s first headquarters — the St. Louis Cardinals.

Medicine Shoppe and Medicap owner/operators also were treated to presentations around managed care, relevant pharmacy legislation and optimal business strategies within today’s economic and reimbursement framework.

In the afternoon, franchisees were invited to attend one of several breakout sessions, which covered topics from the opportunities inherent in healthcare exchanges, to the projected impact the Pharmaceutical Quality, Security and Accountability Act that presently sits before the Senate, will have on community pharmacy. The Senate had been expected to debate the bill designed to secure the drug supply chain and establish a list of "do not compound" medications, but left for recess earlier this month without voting on it, which will likely push the debate off until the fall.

Business consultant Coughlin returned to hone brand development skills for the franchisee group as part of a discussion called: “Strengthen Your Brand for Long-Time Success.” Sean Raynak, director of the Specialty Pharmacy Alliance, also was on hand to discuss opportunities for independents within the specialty arena. All told, it was a busy, productive day for community pharmacy owners.

Today, MSI represents more than 585 Medicine Shoppe and Medicap locations. Cardinal Health has worked hard to help position and support MSI owners to not only succeed in today’s marketplace, but also in tomorrow’s marketplace as the last pieces of healthcare reform are put into play.

For example, franchisees have continued to expand patient care services by tapping into Cardinal Health’s Specialized Care Centers for diabetes, heart health, immunizations and home health programs, which provide pharmacy owners with the tools and resources they need to position themselves as local patient resources.

“Medicine Shoppe franchisees have always been committed to delivering truly personalized, convenient care to their patients,” Fiacco told DSN earlier this year. “They’re seen as more than pharmacists; they’re healthcare leaders in their communities. And they understand that now, more than ever, their patients are looking to them to help them manage not just their medications, but [also] their overall health.”

Cardinal Health’s Specialized Care Centers represent a win-win for franchise owners and patients. Offering a multitude of healthcare services allows franchisees to diversify their revenue streams even as they strengthen their relationships with patients — a strategy for long-term success.

“We provide the patient education resources, marketing materials, even planograms and product recommendations to empower pharmacy owners to position themselves as local ‘destinations’ for diabetes, heart health, home health or immunizations,” Fiacco said. “It’s also good for patients who can look at Medicine Shoppe as a one-stop destination for health care.”

To keep up with all the news from Cardinal Health RBC 2013, visit DrugStoreNews.com/Cardinal-Health-Retail-Business-Conference-2013.


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Childhood obesity rates drop in 19 states

BY Jason Owen

WASHINGTON — Data released this week by federal health officials showed that between 2008 and 2011, the obesity rates of low-income preschoolers declined in 19-of-43 states and territories, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s website.

The report, "Progress on Childhood Obesity," says one-in-eight preschoolers are obese and that children who are obese or overweight as preschoolers are five times as likely to be obese or overweight as adults compared with children who have a normal weight.

According to the report, "Obesity rates in low-income preschoolers, after decades of rising, began to level off from 2003 through 2008 and now are showing small declines in many states. However, too many preschoolers are obese. State and local officials can play a big part in reducing obesity among preschoolers."

The report recommends several actions state and local officials can pursue to help further reduce the problem among the nation’s young:

  • Create partnerships with community members such as civic leaders and child care providers to make community changes that promote healthy eating and active living.
  • Make it easier for families with children to buy healthy, affordable foods and beverages in their neighborhood.
  • Help provide access to safe, free drinking water in places such as community parks, recreation areas, child care centers, and schools.
  • Help local schools open up gyms, playgrounds, and sports fields during non-school hours so more children can safely play.
  • Help child care providers use best practices for improving nutrition, increasing physical activity, and decreasing computer and television time.

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