PHARMACY

CVS Caremark, MinuteClinic working overtime to disseminate flu shots

BY Antoinette Alexander

WOONSOCKET, R.I. CVS Caremark is working toward its previously announced goal of delivering one million flu vaccinations this year and as part of that effort has kicked off an advertising campaign to inform consumers about CVS Caremark’s integrated flu vaccination offerings, not to mention drive awareness of the MinuteClinic model.

The “Flu Shots Made Simple” campaign began in September and will run through Dec. 31. It is a multi-faceted campaign that includes in-store signage and store radio spots, a national television campaign promoting joint CVS/pharmacy and MinuteClinic flu shot services, a MinuteClinic-dedicated TV campaign in select markets, newspaper ads in select markets, direct mail to target consumers and public relation efforts.

The goal: To inform consumers about CVS Caremark’s integrated flu vaccination offering which includes MinuteClinic locations, pharmacist-administered shots and scheduled flu shot clinics within select CVS/pharmacy locations.

“Flu shots have always been a key service of CVS and MinuteClinic. We had the opportunity this year to align MinuteClinic’s flu shot capabilities with other flu vaccination services offered at CVS/pharmacy. It is a natural point of integrated services within CVS Caremark,” said Melissa Studzinski, director of marketing for MinuteClinic.

While the campaign runs through Dec. 31, flu shots will continue to be available at all 559 MinuteClinic locations on demand throughout the flu season, which could run as late as March or April.

As part of the campaign, the company has created a flu shot voucher program for Caremark clients whereby participating members are eligible to receive a flu shot at MinuteClinic with no out-of-pocket cost to them, noted Studzinski.

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PHARMACY

King announces acquisition of Alpharma

BY Alaric DeArment

BRISTOL, Tenn. King Pharmaceuticals will acquire Alpharma in a deal worth $1.6 billion, King said Monday.

Alpharma had rejected a $33-per-share bid King made earlier, but accepted the most recent $37-per-share bid.

Alpharma, based in Bridgewater, N.J., has lately sought regulatory approval for painkillers designed to thwart abuse, such as Remoxy, a liquid capsule-based formulation of oxycodone.

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Viagra under investigation for effect on athletes

BY Alaric DeArment

NEW YORK The World Anti-Doping Agency is investigating whether the drug Viagra gives athletes a competitive advantage on the playing field.

The drug, known generically as sildenafil citrate and made by Pfizer, works by opening the blood vessels. According to published reports, some experts have said this could give athletes more endurance by increasing the bloodstreams ability to deliver oxygen.

If studies indicate that Viagra does give athletes an advantage, WADA will consider listing it as a performance-enhancing drug.

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