PHARMACY

Expanding a regional drug chain

BY Michael Johnsen

Care Pharmacies now boasts 79 affiliates, three more than last year, but grew its 2014 sales by almost $100 million. That’s not as much attracting larger operators to the consortium’s business model, where each of the independent operators own a stake in the parent company, as much as it is attracting operators pre-positioned for growth.

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“Bigger is not better for us, better is better,” Michael Wysong, Care CEO, told Drug Store News. Care Pharmacies has stores operating in 10 states, including Washington, D.C., and currently is looking to expand its East Coast regional drug chain model to the West Coast with additions of several California specialty pharmacy retailers in the year ahead, he said. “We want the very best community retail and specialty pharmacies in our organization because we know the changing reform is going to require the right groups of people working collaboratively in the service of the customers. If you can do that, and you can do that under the premise of taking advantage of what the independent community pharmacies do very well, and you can do that under an umbrella of continuity — I think that is a powerful combination.”

In 2014, Care Pharmacies continued its evolution toward a regional drug chain functionality with an independent’s flair for service and quality. “When you look at reform and what’s coming with the move from fee-for-service to fee-for-value, a lot of the local acute care institutions are looking for that solution. So in 2014, we’re really in the early seeds of our Transition for Care [hospital readmission] program. That’s why the quality piece has really become front and center for us as we head into 2015.”

The other big initiative headed into 2015 is Care Pharmacies’ transition to McKesson as its wholesaler.

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PHARMACY

Improving business performance

BY Barbara White-Sax

Sam Duncan, Supervalu president and CEO, had a challenging year in 2014, but the chain managed to improve business performance after several years of declining revenues and market capitalization. “We passed an important milestone this quarter delivering positive sales increases in all three of our business segments for the first time in many years,” Duncan said in a statement issued in January 2015.

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The company operates retail supermarkets under five banners — Cub Foods, Shoppers Food & Pharmacy, Shop ’n Save, Farm Fresh and Hornbacher’s — across seven states and Washington, D.C.

Supervalu repositioned its Wild Harvest private-label brand in early 2015 with a new logo and packaging graphics, and is supporting the new look with a fully integrated marketing campaign, “Eat Free. Go Wild.” New packaging will include “free from” messaging that addresses consumers’ desire for clearer ingredient labeling. The company plans to extend product offerings under the brand with more than 200 new products planned for 2015.

In its pharmacy departments, the company is committed to providing clinical programs and positive patient experiences within convenient supermarket locations.

“We continue to focus on assisting our diabetic customers in managing their disease while focusing on improving compliance with all of our customers,” said Luke Friedrich, a spokesman for the company. Stores offer personalized clinical services to help manage diabetes, diabetic education in a classroom setting and grocery store tours focused on diabetes.

Friedrich said that the company had a strong year in pharmacy. “We developed an HRME pilot with a local managed care provider, opened our first in-store clinic and administered a record number of adult immunizations,” he said.

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PHARMACY

Offering world-class pharmacy service

BY Barbara White-Sax

Raley’s celebrated its 80th year in business and lived up to its reputation as one of the best pharmacies in the western United States. The chain was recognized in 2014 by Consumer Reports in the magazine’s top pharmacies and drug stores list, which ranked pharmacies of all sizes on a variety of consumer experiences.

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Raley’s VP of pharmacy Lee Worthy said the company was proud to earn a place on the list and continues to work hard to keep its customers happy and healthy. “Raley’s takes great pride in world-class service, and infusing our customers’ lives with health-and-wellness,” he said. “Our remodeled locations feature a patient care area designed for a private, professional location for consultations, as well as performing procedures in our pharmacies.”

After announcing that the chain was removing tobacco products from its stores in early 2015, Raley’s expanded its smoking cessation offerings in its pharmacy department. Citing a “very strong correlation between tobacco use and many serious health issues,” the chain said that the decision to no longer sell tobacco products “is a part our continuing effort to raise awareness about health-and-wellness.”

Worthy said that in addition to traditional medical offerings at its pharmacy, the chain continues to add natural offerings and alternative supplement options for its customers.

The chain also has a thriving compounding business, including hormone replacement therapies; special dosing for the young, elderly or pets; and alternative delivery for patients who can’t tolerate oral medications.

In March 2015, Raley’s became the first retailer in the United States to roll out a new, environmentally friendly food safety program. The program, called Ecolab, focuses on simplifying food safety processes to ensure proper cleaning and delivering operational savings through the use of less labor, water, energy and waste.

Raley’s operates stores under the Raley’s Superstores, Bel Air Markets, Nob Hill Foods and Food Source banners.

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