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CVS rewarding green bag users

BY Antoinette Alexander

WOONSOCKET, R.I. CVS/pharmacy is paying shoppers to reduce plastic bag waste through the new “GreenBagTag” initiative, which is a new feature of its ExtraCare loyalty card program.

The GreenBagTag rewards members of CVS’ ExtraCare rewards program for opting not to use disposable plastic shopping bags when making a purchase at any of the retailer’s more than 7,000 stores nationwide.

The GreenBagTag retails for 99 cents and is a leaf-shaped scannable card (made with 100% green corn-based materials) that attaches to a reusable shopping bag, keychain or purse. Each time a shopper opts not to use a disposable plastic bag for his or her purchases at CVS, the cashier will scan the GreenTagBag along with the shopper’s ExtraCare card. For every fourth time the tag is scanned, the shopper will earn a $1 ExtraCare Buck that will print on the receipt.

ExtraCare Bucks are “CVS cash” that can be used on just about anything in the store. There now are more than 55 million existing cardholders.

In the coming weeks, there also will be a charitable component, where a portion of the proceeds from GreenBagTag sales will go toward environmental causes. According to the company, the details have yet to be finalized.

Citing some reports, CVS stated that approximately 100 billion plastic shopping bags are used in the United States each year, and only roughly 1% to 3% of those bags are recycled.

Meanwhile, Target is taking a similar approach by offering its shoppers a 5-cent discount for each reusable bag they use to pack their purchases, according to published reports. The Target program will roll out on Nov. 1 at all 1,700 Target stores nationwide.

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MoneyGram renews deal with Duane Reade

BY Antoinette Alexander

MINNEAPOLIS MoneyGram, a provider of payment services, has renewed its agreement with Duane Reade, the company announced on Monday.

As part of the multi-year agreement, MoneyGram introduced Utility Bill Payment services at Duane Reade locations that already offer MoneyGram money transfers, money orders and ExpressPayment services for urgent bill payment and reload options for prepaid debit cards.

MoneyGram services are available in about 200 Duane Reade stores throughout New York City and in parts of New Jersey.

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Pfizer returns to consumer care with Wyeth buy

BY DSN STAFF

NEW YORK What’s really intriguing behind the return of a consumer division to Pfizer is the fact that two of its flagship pharmaceuticals — Lipitor and Viagra — are approaching patent expiration, and both have been suggested as possible Rx-to-OTC switch candidates by Kline & Co.

 

Why Lipitor might hit the switch sweet-spot: Of all the statins, Lipitor certainly looms largest, and a lot of that has to do with the greater perceived efficacy achieved through Pfizer’s statin (second only to Crestor, according to the Johns Hopkins Medical Letter). Pfizer also will benefit from the experiences of four prior statin switch applications, all of which failed on some level with failed actual use studies. In addition, while there is no class of behind-the-counter drugs, there certainly is precedent for OTC marketing agreements that place a drug behind the pharmacy counter — the emergency contraceptive Plan B, for example. That opens the door to a marketing agreement that would facilitate a pharmacy consultation as a prevention against possible consumer misuse. Though, to be clear, Pfizer has never indicated such a possibility in switching Lipitor.

 

Why Viagra might hit the switch sweet-spot: While certainly a long-shot in a society where the switch of an emergency contraceptive became a political hot potato, and advertisements around the use of condoms as pleasure enhancement, as opposed to their STD-prevention qualities, are not likely to ever see the light of network prime time, Viagra was sold on a test-market basis in the United Kingdom as a behind-the-counter offering, which requires a pharmacist consultation. If Pfizer can figure out how to open the door around a defacto BTC class of drugs with Lipitor, Viagra isn’t such a stretch after that.

Beyond possible Rx-to-OTC switch scenarios, the other impact to this deal is in marketing synergy. In 2007, Pfizer and Wyeth together spent more than $2.3 billion on marketing, according to Advertising Age. While the new ad budget likely will be less than that, they’ll still be able to generate more traction with the media they do buy, given the greater buying power of the combined companies.

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