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Doug Long receives Harold W. Pratt Award for commitment for pharmacy

BY Antoinette Alexander

DENVER — Concluding the National Association of Chain Drug Stores Pharmacy and Technology Conference on Tuesday evening, NACDS bestowed its highest honor — the Harold W. Pratt Award — to industry leader Doug Long.

Long’s dedication to pharmacy spans four decades, with the last 23 years spent at IMS Health implementing health databases, fostering relationships with manufacturers and associations and developing new products. Long is most recognized for his annual Industry Year in Review, showcasing the trends and forecasts in the U.S. market. He is a frequent speaker for industry groups, including NACDS. Prior to his role at IMS Health, Long served in various sales and marketing capacities for Nielsen Market Research.

Harold W. Pratt — for whom the award is named — dedicated himself to many years of service at Walgreens, becoming the industry’s first director of professional services. Over the course of his 43 years of service to Walgreens, Pratt came to be recognized as the “Dean” of pharmacy professional service directors and worked to grow and promote pharmacy operations. Pratt also served as chairman of the first NACDS Pharmacy and Technology Conference.
 
The annual award that is named for Pratt, established in 1985 by the NACDS board of directors, recognizes individuals whose activities have contributed to the promotion, recognition and improvement of the practice of pharmacy within the chain drug industry.

“Doug Long has earned a reputation as one of the foremost ‘go-to’ sources when it comes to the numbers and trends behind this industry,” NACDS president and CEO Steve Anderson said. “Doug has built a reputation of synthesizing the latest industry information and forecasting ‘what’s next’ in ways that helps stakeholders understand what it means for their day-to-day businesses.  NACDS is honored to bestow the distinguished Harold W. Pratt award upon Doug Long and we thank him for his continued service to pharmacy.”


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Nielsen: Intent to buy food, beverages online continues to grow

BY Allison Cerra

NEW YORK — Global consumers’ intent to buy food and beverages online has jumped 44% in two years, and more than one-quarter (26%) said they planned to purchase food and beverage products by way of a device with Internet access — such as a computer, mobile phone or tablet — in the next three to six months, according to Nielsen.

The "Nielsen Global Survey of Digital’s Influence on Grocery Shopping," which polled more than 28,000 consumers in 56 countries throughout Asia-Pacific, Europe, Latin America, the Middle East, Africa and North America, noted that 61% of global respondents indicated using the Internet for grocery shopping research in the past month, such as checking prices or reading a consumer review. Additionally, 45% used the Internet to get information about a grocery product; 43% searched for deals; 33% read a grocery retailer’s promotional circular/flyer; 33% looked for coupons; 26% browsed a manufacturer website; 18% provided feedback through social media and 11% used a digital shopping list.

"While nonconsumer packaged goods products, such as clothing, books and consumer electronics report the highest penetration for digital shopping intentions, online influence for CPG products is clearly growing," Nielsen strategic initiatives president John Burbank said. "Marketers need to determine which consumers are embracing digital for their grocery shopping needs so they can focus on the right shoppers with the right digital strategies to improve consumers’ online experience."

When it came to the length of time respondents conducted grocery shopping-related activities on a connected device, nearly half (47%) reported spending at least 25% of their total research time for grocery shopping-related activities on a connected device, while 23% indicated spending at least half their research time on the Internet. For those respondents who said they used the Internet for grocery shopping-related activities, more than half (63% to 91%, depending on type of activity) of global respondents did so weekly or monthly. One-third of global respondents indicated using the Internet daily to conduct research (37%), provide feedback via social media (33%), look for deals (31%) and search for product information (31%).

"Online shopping delivers key attributes shoppers demand, such as convenience, value and choice," Burbank said. "However, the Internet and more specifically e-commerce, will be successful to varying degrees of impact on consumer packaged goods depending on the product category. For these CPG categories, shoppers are more likely to adopt a multichannel approach, where online shopping becomes a supplement to traditional brick-and-mortar retailing."

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CVS/pharmacy-funded research points to new pathways, treatment strategy for ALS

BY Antoinette Alexander

NEEDHAM, Mass. — In the battle to find a cure for amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease, scientists from Belgium have made a rare discovery: a new gene that influences survival time of ALS. The findings, reported in a recent issue of Nature Medicine, were funded in part by CVS/pharmacy and the ALS Therapy Alliance, a Boston-based nonprofit. The findings also confirm another recent study that identified the same pathway to finding a treatment for ALS.

The research team, headed by Dr. Wim Robberecht, has found that loss of activity of a receptor called EphA4 substantially extends lifespan in this disease. Robberecht’s report began with observations in worm and mouse models of ALS. Investigators at the University of Massachusetts Medical School then documented that in rare human cases defects in the same gene prolong survival in human ALS.

“These findings are particularly exciting because they suggest that suppression of EphA4 may be a new way to treat ALS,” explained Robert Brown, a co-author and chair of Neurology at UMMS and president of the board for the ALS Therapy Alliance.

The UMMS team reported three weeks ago that there is another new ALS gene, profilin-1. PFN1 works in conjunction with EphA4 to control outgrowth of motor nerve terminals. Together these discoveries highlight a new molecular pathway in neurons that is directly related to ALS susceptibility and severity.

“It is exciting that two studies identify the same pathway in ALS; hopefully, this will accelerate efforts to find a treatment,” added John Landers, a scientist at UMMS and senior author of the PFN1 study.

ALS is a devastating degenerative disorder of motor neurons that leads to progressive weakness and paralysis; life expectancy is just three to five years. ALS attacks the nerve cells responsible for controlling muscles while leaving the brain intact, ultimately causing patients to become “trapped” in their own body. To date, there are no significant treatments for this disease.

The research received key funding from CVS/pharmacy, the largest corporate donor supporting cutting edge research for the cause and cure for ALS, and ALS Therapy Alliance. Over the last decade, the ALS Therapy Alliance, through support from CVS/pharmacy, has raised $30 million for ALS research, focusing on breakthrough studies that improve the understanding and treatment of ALS.

“CVS/pharmacy is proud to support the innovative research efforts generated through the ALS Therapy Alliance,” CVS Caremark EVP Jonathan Roberts said. “These new findings offer hope for the thousands of patients who suffer from ALS, and to their friends, families and communities.”

In addition to the ATA and CVS/pharmacy, the UMMS ALS research program was supported by Project ALS, P2ALS, the Angel Fund and the National Institutes of Health.


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