PHARMACY

Drug Channels: Cardinal Health buys specialty distributor Metro Medical

BY Michael Johnsen

PHILADELPHIA – Cardinal Health on Tuesday acquired Metro Medical, the largest independent specialty distributor, Drug Channels reported Wednesday
 
"It’s a great move for Cardinal, which dramatically expands its small specialty distribution business while gaining access to new practice settings," observed Adam Fein, president Pembroke Consulting and CEO Drug Channels Institute, in a blog published this morning. "The Metro deal also puts Cardinal a little closer to the specialty businesses of AmerisourceBergen and McKesson."
 
According to Fein, the largest specialty distributors are divisions of full-line wholesalers. "These include the distributors in AmerisourceBergen Corporation’s Specialty Group (Oncology Supply, ASD Healthcare and Besse Medical) and McKesson Specialty Health (a business unit of McKesson Corporation)," he noted. 
 
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PHARMACY

Blending pharmacy, nutritional expertise

BY Jim Frederick

Now in its 110th year, H-E-B is a pioneer in food-store pharmacy retailing. Beginning with its first in-store prescription center in the 1950s, the chain now offers full pharmacy departments in 245 of its more than 350 stores, according to its SVP pharmacy Craig Norman.

(Click here to view the full report.)

Those pharmacies offer an expanding menu of immunizations, health screenings and long-term disease management programs. Through its ongoing “Second Saturday” health-and-wellness initiative, H-E-B pharmacies offer free screenings for blood glucose and blood pressure, as well as cholesterol testing for under $4 on the second Saturday of every month. Also available for $29.99: quarterly A1C testing for diabetics to help them manage their conditions long-term, and a complete cholesterol blood test measuring HDL and LDL levels.

Diabetes is a prime focus of its health-and-wellness efforts. Based in a state where more than 10% of adults have the condition, H-E-B offers diabetes monitoring and patient education, as well as its own line of glucose monitors and testing strips under the H-E-B inControl label. Supplementing those efforts: the “My H-E-B Health & Wellness” program, which includes weekly meal plans and shopping lists for healthier eating, shopping tours with dietitians, exercise tips and a shelf-tag program to identify products for special dietary needs.

“Our focus is to continue to develop our outreach to customers, building on being recognized as a destination for health and wellness,” Norman told DSN.

Among the company’s newest innovations: free or low-cost prescription deliveries in many Texas markets. The pharmacy delivery service is now available weekdays in nearly 100 H-E-B stores.

“For two or more prescriptions, this service is completely free, and it’s only $5 if the order is for one prescription,” the company noted. Deliveries normally occur within four hours or less, according to H-E-B’s pharmacy division.

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Expanding digital resources

BY Richard Monks

Kmart has diligently worked to ensure that its pharmacies are the outlets of choice for customers. “Our pharmacists take a different approach,” VP of public relations and member communications Jamie Stein said. “Kmart pharmacists are member- and patient-centric, providing differentiated personalized service. They are well connected in their communities, are medication therapy management-trained and immunization-certified. We are focused on healthcare content, products and personalized attention that, when combined, provide ‘Service with a Healthy Dose of Care,’” she said.

(Click here to view the full report.)

Among the more unique offerings at Kmart pharmacies are a free flavoring for liquid prescriptions or over-the counter medications; free, no-appointment immunization screenings; the Shop Your Way pharmacy rewards program, giving patients who fill five prescriptions $10 in reward points that can be redeemed for non-pharmacy merchandise at any Kmart or Sears store or online; and an auto refill service that is helping the company move towards offering full medication synchronization.

Last year, Kmart pharmacy expanded its offering by entered the specialty pharmacy sector through a partnership with Diplomat Specialty Pharmacy.

This year, Stein said, Kmart is introducing a mobile app that makes it easier for pharmacy patients to manage their prescriptions on the go. The app will remind users when a prescription is ready for pickup, when to take medication and when a refill is due.

In an effort to make its pharmacists more accessible, Kmart recently added an Ask a Pharmacist feature to kmartpharmacy.com, allowing patients to get free advice 24 hours a day.

The company’s position in the discount space also has allowed it to partner with a variety of other online health-and-wellness providers — including JillianMichaels.com, Lose It!, Snap Fitness, Care.com, Doctor on Demand and American Well.

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