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Expanded Caregivers Marketplace searches for ways to help

BY DSN STAFF

MILWAUKEE —Hamacher Resource Group’s Caregivers Marketplace program quickly is gaining traction, with 3,000 retail doors expected to participate by year’s end, and another 8,000 retail doors expected to participate by the end of 2008 to help cede added value to the 1-in-5 households containing a caregiver.

Hamacher acquired Caregivers Marketplace, a consumer rebate program for caregivers, in 2005.

“We have had some tremendous conversations with grocery retailers, who feel they offer a complete solution to somebody facing a caregiving situation because they offer not only the nutritional side of the equation in diet, but also healthcare products,” Dave Wendland, Hamacher vice president, told Drug Store News.

Hamacher also expects to draw key insights in the coming year from its panel of some 7,000 at-home caregivers who have opted to be part of caregiver research. “The research panel will help guide decisions, whether they’re product decisions for manufacturers who are considering entry into this market, service decisions about needs that aren’t being addressed and potentially even resource needs within the marketplace in terms of information, advice [or] training,” Wendland said. “Studies indicate that family caregivers spend, on average, $200 per month out of pocket.”

Hamacher has about 11 retail partners currently, retailers who supply information and resources to consumers about the program and keep all of the eligible products in stock. One of the largest national retailers to sign up for the program so far has been Kmart, which signed this spring, representing approximately 1,100 pharmacies.

Hamacher most recently signed Kerr Drug, the leading retail drug chain in North Carolina and South Carolina, to offer consumers cash back on purchases of eligible brand-name healthcare products.

“We’re beginning to see buying patterns,” Wendland said. “When somebody comes into the program from a particular retail outlet, and they may have come with multiple receipts from multiple retailers, the repeat purchases are generally, 80 percent plus, from that one retailer.”

And Hamacher has 10 trade partners, suppliers who have agreed to offer rebates to Caregivers Marketplace consumers based on an authenticated purchase of their products, representing 17 brands. Pharmavite and Homedics are the two most recent trade partners to sign up for the program, which will afford caregivers breaks on the purchase of dietary supplements and blood pressure monitors (in addition to Omron, which already participates in the program) both for themselves and the people under their care. Consumers who belong to the Caregivers Marketplace will begin seeing rebates on Pharmavite and Homedic products in October, and Caregivers is looking to expand its trade partner base again in January.

“We’re looking to expand the number of categories [Caregiver Marketplace reaches] throughout the rest of this year and into 2008,” Wendland said, especially given the myriad categories a caregiver shops to care for someone with diabetes, hypertension and Alzheimer’s. Specifically, Caregivers is looking for partners in external analgesics, wound care and household. “I know that sounds strange, but one of the areas of need that caregivers on our advisory panel have suggested is … keeping their house clean [can be a challenge],” Wendland said. Durable medical equipment providers are another potential target for the Caregivers Marketplace, he added, especially given the burgeoning need for DME-type items that are not covered by Medicare.

Caregivers Marketplace also is expanding beyond its three initial stakeholders—suppliers, retailers and consumers. Last month, Caregivers signed a deal with Visiting Angels, the nation’s leading network of nonmedical, private duty home care agencies providing senior care, elder care, personal care, respite care and companion care to help the elderly and adults continue to live in their homes. Visiting Angels has more than 300 franchise senior home care agencies and is educating family members of caregivers on the Caregivers Marketplace. In return, Caregivers is co-branding with Visiting Angels in some of its consumer advertising.

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Kroger appoints Going as Michigan division president

BY Adam Kraemer

CINCINNATI The Kroger Co. announced Wednesday that it has named Rick Going president of the company’s new Michigan division.

Kroger currently operates 138 stores in the state; Going will oversee operations in them, effective immediately.

During his 26-year tenure with Kroger, Going has held a number of district- and division-level leadership positions at the store and has served as vice president of Retail Operations and vice president of Merchandising for Kroger’s Cincinnati/Dayton division.

“Rick brings extensive experience in operations and merchandising to this new role,” said Don McGeorge, Kroger’s president and chief operating officer. “We look forward to his leadership as he works with our associates to build on Kroger’s growth in Michigan by focusing on our customers to create even better shopping experiences for them.”

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NACDS responds to “misleading” New York Times article

BY DSN STAFF

ALEXANDRIA, Va. The National Association of Chain Drug Stores has fired back at The New York Times after the publication ran an article in its Sept. 18 issue titled, “The ‘Poisonous Cocktail’ of Multiple Drugs.”

The NACDS said the article misrepresented the role of chain pharmacies in the prevention of harmful drug interactions. The article blamed, “places where chain stores have replaced independent pharmacies or when the patient’s drug plan requires that medications be ordered by mail.” The NACDS retaliated by stating that all pharmacists, no matter whether they work in a chain or at an independent pharmacy, counsel patients for drug interactions and rely on medication information for this purpose.

The NACDS said the article misrepresented the role of chain pharmacies in the prevention of harmful drug interactions. The article blamed, “places where chain stores have replaced independent pharmacies or when the patient’s drug plan requires that medications be ordered by mail.” The NACDS retaliated by stating that all pharmacists, no matter whether they work in a chain or at an independent pharmacy, counsel patients for drug interactions and rely on medication information for this purpose.

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