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Costco experiences net, same-store sales jump for September

BY Marianne Wilson

NEW YORK — Costco Wholesale reported a better-than-expected 6% rise in September same-store sales, helped by higher gasoline prices and a stronger dollar.

Excluding the impact of gasoline prices and foreign exchange, comparable same-store sales rose 5% for the month.

Net sales rose 8% to $9.31 billion in the five weeks ended Sept. 30. Costco, which currently operates 608 warehouses, said it plans to open up to 14 new warehouses prior to the end of calendar year 2012.

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Study: Hypercholesterolemia patients adherent to medication regimen may be healthier, but at a price

BY Allison Cerra

ST. PAUL, Minn. — Patients with high cholesterol who take statins may be healthier than those who do not, but their overall healthcare costs may be slightly higher than their counterparts, according to a new study.

The study, conducted by pharmacy benefit manager Prime Therapeutics in collaboration with Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Minnesota, found that while hypercholesterolemia patients adherent to statin medication went to the hospital or emergency department 2.6% less often than nonadherent individuals — resulting in medical costs that were 7% lower (a difference of $767) — the lower medical costs were offset by pharmacy costs that were 45% higher (a difference of $1,606). In the study, researchers from Prime and Blue Cross compared medical and pharmacy costs among individuals with high cholesterol who were adherent to their statin medication to individuals who were not adherent ("adherence" was defined as following the medication regime 80% of the time or more). Of the 45,869 members included in the study, 21,693 (47.3%) were adherent and 24,176 (52.7%) nonadherent during the two-year follow-up period.

The study results were presented at the Academy of Managed Care Pharmacy’s 2012 Educational Conference.

"This study is a continuation of our collaborative work with Blue Cross into understanding the connection between adherence and total cost of health care, including hospitalizations," said Pat Gleason, director of clinical outcomes assessment with Prime. "With the increasing availability of generic statins, especially the generic atorvastatin of the brand Lipitor, the higher pharmacy costs we found may be lowered. In this study, adherence to statins was associated with lower medical costs and hospitalizations, two very important outcomes that will help up us recommend solutions that lead to healthier outcomes for individuals."

To view the full results of the study, click here.


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H.SMITH says:
Feb-11-2013 01:40 pm

I'm not surprised by the study results, I would have been surprised if those who stick to their treatments were in worse health that the others. When it comes to such devastating conditions I think it's essential to for the patients to be adherent to their treatment.

R.MURRAY says:
Oct-08-2012 03:23 pm

A LARGE study should also be conducted to look at the symptoms from taking Satins long term. The worse thus far is memory loss. A great many patients also suffer from muscle and joint pain with little knowledge as to the why and most physicians want their patients to continue on with the stains because of the industry profits as opposed to the good test results. A better understanding of the true, long and short term effects of these drugs needs to be investigated. I doubt unfortunately this will happen for the reason stated above and that is a medical shame. There are small studies out there, yet the public is not informed. Sometimes, bigger is better...

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Wellness makes it all ‘Rite’

BY Alaric DeArment

WHAT IT MEANS AND WHY IT’S IMPORTANT — What should be clear by now is that Rite Aid is making a big comeback, and along the way, it’s also carving out an important niche for itself.

(THE NEWS: Rite Aid opens ‘next generation’ Wellness store, reports September sales. For the full story, click here.)

"Wellness" has been an overarching theme of Rite Aid’s marketing, from its Wellness stores to its Wellness+ loyalty card program. But it’s more than just a word — it also is the guiding force for what goes on inside the store.

The longstanding GNC store-within-a-store sections featured at many Rite Aid locations, the Wellness Ambassadors and new features, such as the Diabetes Diagnostic Center and a pharmacy designed to be more "open and inviting" exemplify Rite Aid’s efforts to tie the four corners of its stores together and position them as destinations for wellness. And updating the still-new Wellness format shows a commitment to staying at the front lines.

That kind of differentiation will be important as Rite Aid seeks to generate growth, which it lately has done quite effectively, reporting increased pharmacy traffic and comps that beat analysts’ expectations in its September sales results.

According to the company’s second-quarter 2013 earnings call with Wall Street analysts on Sept. 20, the chain plans to have 780 Wellness stores by the end of fiscal year 2013 and already has trained 815 Wellness Ambassadors. While that’s still a fraction of the more than 4,600 stores in the chain, and such external factors as the aftermath of the Walgreens-Express Scripts dispute and the generic wave will continue to play important roles, it represents a significant part of a concerted effort to grow sales that, so far, is working.

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