PHARMACY

Drug Store News’ Industry Issues Summit, Diabetes Roundtable discuss critical role of retailers in health care

BY Antoinette Alexander

NEW YORK With healthcare reform hanging in the balance, the turbulent economy reshaping consumer shopping behavior and retail pharmacies increasingly taking a proactive role on the frontlines of U.S. health care, it couldn’t have been a better time for key industry leaders to convene here once again for Drug Store News’ 11th Annual Industry Issues Summit.

Roughly 150 leading industry players gathered for the event, which was held at the New York Athletic Club.

Kicking off the session was a presentation by Dan O’Connor, president and CEO of RetailNet Group, who provided attendees with a look into the future of retailing. Capping off the day was the 7th Annual Diabetes Leadership Roundtable followed by a panel discussion on specialty pharmacy.

Retail participants for the Industry Issues Summit panel discussions included Bryan Shirtliff of Rite Aid, David Fong of Safeway, Charlie Burnett of Costco, Dewayne Rabon of Winn-Dixie, Craig Norman of HEB, Barbara Zamudio of Ulta Beauty and Bill Bergin of Rite Aid. Supplier panelists included John Sullivan of Kao Brands, Mike Voaden of Alberto-Culver, Joel Carden of Pacific World, Scott Patricki of Pharmavite, David Howenstine of Pfizer Consumer Healthcare, Mark Cieslinski of Mentholatum and Sharon Glass of Catalina Marketing.

The panel discussions hit on a wide variety of topics, including SKU rationalization, how companies are reevaluating their business in light of the economy, what role social media is playing, and how to optimize front-end sales and keep consumers engaged in health, beauty and wellness.

Some common themes that emerged from the discussions: Both retailers and suppliers agree that increasing consumer education is critical, especially as it relates to health and wellness; retailers are increasingly turning away from cookie-cutter boxes and are looking more toward segmentation; and, while social media like Facebook and Twitter are important, retailers and suppliers are still trying to figure out how to best leverage it.

To discuss the critical issue of diabetes and what role suppliers and retailers are playing in helping their patients better manage their diabetes, Dave Wendland, VP Hamacher Resource Group, moderated the Diabetes Roundtable.

Diabetes Roundtable participants included Robb Ayshford of Sears/Kmart, Tim Canning of McKesson’s Health Mart, Ric Clarke of Rite Aid, Lisa Frasher of Cardinal Health, Debbie Krasnow of Giant Eagle, Leon Nevers of HEB, Ceci Zeigler of AmerisourceBergen, Mark Gregory of Kerr Drug, Fotinos Panagakos of Colgate-Palmolive, Mike Caracci of Takeda, Rachel Sosalski of Novo Nordisk, Brahim Zabeli of BD Medical and Wai Wu of Abbott Diabetes Care.

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Senate opens health-reform debate

BY Jim Frederick

WASHINGTON After months of wrangling in committee meetings and weeks spent rounding up support from his Democratic colleagues, Senate majority leader Harry Reid Monday morning gaveled the opening round of what is expected to be weeks of debate on a massive health-reform bill.

Reid was successful last week in rounding up a 60-vote majority to allow the legislation to come before the full Senate for debate. But the bill faces a tough battle in a bitterly partisan fight that could push any chance of passage into next year.

The Reid bill would overhaul the U.S. health system by providing coverage to millions of uninsured Americans, mandating that all Americans have coverage, creating a publicly funded insurance option to compete with private insurance plans and setting up new incentives and processes to promote healthier lifestyles and disease prevention. To help defray the expected cost of the overhaul — estimated to be $848 billion over 10 years — the Senate bill would levy a tax on the highest-value insurance plans dispensed by employers, and create a review system to seek out the most cost-effective treatments and reduce waste and unneeded medical procedures in government-funded health programs.

Republicans are almost unanimously opposed to many of the health-reform measures proposed in the Reid bill. Debate is likely to center on hot-button issues like federal funding for abortions, the public insurance plan option and the taxation of premium health plans.

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FDA approves expanded use of Cymbalta

BY Alaric DeArment

INDIANAPOLIS The Food and Drug Administration has approved a new use for an Eli Lilly & Co. drug.

Lilly announced Monday that the FDA had approved Cymbalta (duloxetine hydrochloride) as a maintenance treatment for generalized anxiety disorder in adults. The drug already had approval for treating major depressive disorder, generalized anxiety disorder and diabetic peripheral neuropathic pain and fibromyalgia.

“Since generalized anxiety disorder can be a chronic illness, it is important that doctors and their patients find a treatment option that is effective in both the acute and maintenance phase of treatment,” Lilly medical director for Cymbalta in the United States James Martinez said in a statement. “With this additional approval, Cymbalta offers a new option for the maintenance treatment of this often-debilitating condition.”

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