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FDA, NIH establish tobacco-research centers

BY Alaric DeArment

SILVER SPRING, Md. — A new research institution set up by the federal government will conduct tobacco-related research around the country using more than $50 million from the Food and Drug Administration and the National Institutes of Health.

The FDA and NIH announced Thursday the creation of 14 Tobacco Centers of Regulatory Science, which will receive up to $53 million in fiscal year 2013 to conduct the research. The centers, called TCORS, are designed to generate research to inform the regulation of tobacco products to protect public health, under coordination from the NIH’s Office of Disease Prevention and administration by the National Cancer Institute, the National Institute on Drug Abuse and the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute.

"For the first time, under the Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act, the federal government, through the FDA Center for Tobacco Products, is able to bring science-based regulation to the manufacturing, marketing and distribution of tobacco products," FDA commissioner Margaret Hamburg said. "The FDA is committed to a science-based approach that addresses the complex public health issues raised by tobacco product regulation."

TCORS will include scientists with expertise in epidemiology, behavior, biology, medicine, economics, chemistry, toxicology, addictions, public health, communications and marketing.

 

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American Hospital Association officially endorses medication adherence solution Walgreens WellTransitions

BY Michael Johnsen

CHICAGO — The American Hospital Association earlier this week announced its exclusive endorsement of Walgreens WellTransitions, recognizing the program for medication adherence. The coordinated care program aimed at improving medication adherence has demonstrated reductions in hospital readmission rates by helping patients better understand prescription therapies during and after discharge. 

“The Walgreens WellTransitions program will serve as another tool for hospitals seeking to reduce readmissions and support overall community wellness,” stated Anthony Burke, president and CEO of AHA Solutions. “We have endorsed this program for the broad scope of services that are provided through Walgreens extensive network of pharmacies and pharmacy services. Walgreens has consistently demonstrated its long-term commitment to supporting hospitals’ efforts to extend patient care further into their communities.” 

“Through WellTransitions, Walgreens pharmacy staff works closely with the hospital team to improve the transition of patients to their homes by educating and encouraging them to take their medications as prescribed,” said Joel Wright, Walgreens group VP enterprise specialty. “Medication nonadherence is a significant contributor to preventable readmissions, and by providing this level of personalized care, we can play an important role in helping more people get, stay and live well.”

Early results indicate that WellTransitions has been instrumental in helping to reduce patient readmissions. Within the first six months after the program’s implementation at five hospitals, WellTransitions patients had a 9.4% unadjusted rate of 30-day readmission, compared to a 14.3% 30-day readmission rate for patients eligible for but not participating in the program. 

A formal research study is planned to systematically evaluate the program’s effect on hospital readmissions rates.

WellTransitions takes a comprehensive approach to reducing readmission rates by working with patients from the time they are admitted to the hospital through their discharge and return home. The program supports patient recovery through several hospital-to-home transition steps designed to improve wellness and reduce readmission rates while increasing patient satisfaction and lowering overall care costs.

To date, more than 15 hospitals have implemented the WellTransitions program since its inception in 2012. It is currently being rolled out at a growing number of other facilities throughout the United States, including a growing number of the more than 170 hospitals where Walgreens operates an outpatient pharmacy.  

 

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Duane Reade is most-followed retailer on Twitter

BY Michael Johnsen

NEW YORK — Duane Reade on Wednesday announced that the New York City drug store retailer has become Twitter’s most followed retail chain in the drug, food and mass Arena worldwide. From September 2012 to-date, the regional retailer has organically grown its Twitter following by 6,709%, making it one of the world’s fastest-growing retail accounts on Twitter year over year.   

"This social milestone is all about our customers and represents the ability and focus we have to seamlessly reach them whenever and wherever they are with useful content they crave and now have come to expect via effective two-way communications," stated Calvin Peters, digital communications manager for Duane Reade. "Our goal has been social community building and expanding relevant engagement to enhance our overall customer experience; achieving this while also creating social communication vehicles that can generate tangible ROI results for both corporate and vendor initiatives have proven successful."

Duane Reade’s social media accomplishments have prompted Twitter to produce a comprehensive case study showcasing the retailer’s social media milestones and innovative digital marketing strategies.   

Duane Reade’s social media strategy is powered by what the company refers to as ‘Parallel Persuasion’ — a marketing approach that generates ROI through omnichannel engagement; it’s an equation based on brand advocacy, brand voice, PR integration and conversation relevance. The formula has led to industry recognition with Duane Reade winning the 2013 Silver Hub Prize for Social Shopper Media and Shopper Marketing campaigns.

Duane Reade’s consumer-generated media focused "Get Social" program — marked by a Promoted Tweet engagement rate of more than 4% and generating more than 3 billion digital impressions year over year — has resulted in increased sales and bolstered ROI, including a 28% lift in sales of Duane Reade Legwear through the chain’s #DRLegwear – "Show Us Some Leg" social amplification vendor campaign. Over the same period, the industry experienced a 5% decrease in sales of these products. Post campaign performance numbers for the vendor, Doris International Hosiery Mills, have been equally impressive with sales up 21% year over year as of July 2013.

"We are extremely proud of these achievements as they are reflection of Duane Reade as an iconic New York City retailer, our amazing omnichannel customers and engaged social media community," said Deepika Pandey, VP digital marketing and customer experience for Walgreens. "We’re already focused on attracting our next million followers and increasing our community engagement across all owned platforms to continue having important and relevant conversations with our core customers."

 

 

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