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FDA to survey pharmacists on their experiences with changes in generic drug pill appearance

BY Michael Johnsen

SILVER SPRING, Md. — The Food and Drug Administration last week announced plans to survey pharmacists and patients about their experiences resulting from changes in generic drug pill appearance.
 
The agency expressed a concern that generic drugs that differ in appearance from the brand-name equivalent, or from one another, may lead to nonadherence. "Studies indicate that patients are more likely to stop taking their generic medications when they experience a change in their drugs' physical appearances, leading to harmful clinical and public health consequences, as well as increased healthcare costs from avoidable morbidity and mortality," the agency stated. 
 
"To provide additional information that may help guide regulatory policy or pharmacy business practices, we intend to conduct surveys of pharmacists and patients about their perceptions about and experiences with generic drug product pill appearance change. These surveys are intended to further our understanding of the relationship between changes in pill appearance and nonadherence to prescribed therapeutic regimens," the agency continued. "The surveys may enable us to investigate factors that may explain the association between changes in pill appearance and nonadherence, including which factors could be modified to improve the safe and effective use of generic drugs."
 
According to the agency, generic drugs make up approximately 85% of all human prescription drugs prescribed in the United States.
 
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Q&A: Family Dollar CMO discusses ‘Faces of Fabulous’

BY Antoinette Alexander

Jocelyn Wong, SVP and chief marketing officer for Family Dollar, talks with DSN about the “Faces of Fabulous” campaign and how the retailer is working to increase awareness of its African-American beauty brands. 
 
DSN: How did the idea for the “Family Dollar Fabulous” event come about and what is the goal?
 
Wong: This came about almost 12 months ago. For us it was a very simple business objective. We worked with [our] merchants and they said, ‘We really need to drive more awareness of the ethnic beauty care products that we have.’ We do very well in urban markets and [with] African-American customers and there was this feeling that they have to go to all of these specialty stores when we carry a lot of those products right at Family Dollar, and it would be great if they actually knew it. So, that was the original business objective. We pride ourselves in knowing our customers really well and this was not going to be something [where] we just wanted to leverage a circular to drive. … We know from this customer that she is extremely into social media. … For our customer, YouTube and all of these YouTube channels and vloggers — they are full-blown celebrities.
 
DSN: This marks the second annual “Family Dollar Fabulous” event. How has it evolved and changed this year?
 
Wong: The big change we did this year is not only in New York [last year’s event was held in Charlotte, N.C.] but now that one event we’ve [expanded] into a 12-month event for us. So, this is one of many things we are going to be doing to reach this customer over the next 12 months. … [Last year] was such a huge success that we said, “Let’s make it bigger and better, let’s partner with Ebony [magazine]; let’s make it a 12-month campaign; let’s unveil ‘just be…’” (Editor’s Note: Family Dollar unveiled the new “just be …” spring 2015 apparel collection during a fashion show at the event)
 
DSN: Tell us more about the campaign and what will take place over the next 12 months.
 
Wong: I think we are going to try and leverage a lot of the seasons. So, New Year’s is a time for a new look; spring is coming and you’ve got summer… So, we’re trying to leverage the seasons in a way that ties to what it means to be fabulous and how do you change that up and have different tips and ideas on how Family Dollar can help. … We have radio partnerships, social media, digital is a big component, emails. We are really, at Family Dollar, trying to do a much better job of 360-degree marketing.
 
DSN: Can you tell us more about Family Dollar’s African-American shopper?
 
Wong: We skew higher African-American, even within the dollar channel. … I think the real nuggets come when you understand her much more in-depth. I would like to say that this customer is extremely optimistic, very generous, has very strong participation in faith and family. … She does not define herself as low income or poor. … She is optimistic; name brands are important to her; quality is important to her but so is value. Looking good and expressing herself and feeling good are important to her. 
 
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Sam’s Club launches health exchange for small business owners

BY Michael Johnsen

 

 

BENTONVILLE, Ark. — Sam's Club on Wednesday announced a number of first-of-its-kind services, including the introduction of a health exchange service in partnership with Aetna, to better serve its small business clientelle. 
 
"The small business area for Sam's is an area that we care deeply about as a company," commented Rosalind Brewer, Sam's Club CEO. "The small business community for us is really a cornerstone of our business base," she said. But the face of that small business owner is changing, Brewer noted — 70% of Sam's Club's small business customers are micro-businesses with fewer than five employees. 
 
"[Our members] have told us that they need clarity on small group healthcare," Jill Turner-Mitchael, SVP health and wellness at Sam's Club, said. "With the launch of the new Aetna Marketplace for Sam's Club, small business owners can have plan choices for their employees that are affordable, personalized and easy to use." 
 
The key benefits of this new health exchange for small business owners include streamlined administration, budget predictability, cost control and curated options for coverage. "With the Aetna Marketplace, Sam's business members can choose a predefined contribution or a flat pre-tax dollar amount that their employees can apply to the plan of their choice," Turner-Mitchael said. "The Aetna Marketplace for Sam's Club is an exclusive investment. We are the only retailer to provide a private small business health exchange offering big business benefits to today's small business owners." Citing JD Power figures, Turner-Mitchael noted that 47% of employers are expected to move to a health exchange model by 2015. 
 
The new solution complements Sam's Club's healthcare initiatives, including prescription savings, on-site immunizations (at a business owner's place of business or in the club) and 10 free health screenings per year that are open to the public. "We know healthcare is a complex issue and we want to simplify the process of enrolling and managing healthcare for small business with Aetna," Turner-Mitchael said. 
 
In addition to the health exchange, Sam's Club introduced new legal services and payroll services for small business owners. And Sam's Club travel mobile app is expected to launch next month that will allow members to book travel on the go. 

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