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Food Lion unveils store remodels in Wilmington, N.C. market

BY Antoinette Alexander

SALISBURY, N.C. — Food Lion has unveiled a new shopping experience for customers in 31 stores in the greater Wilmington, N.C., market, marking the first in the Food Lion chain to receive remodels as part of the grocer's new "Easy, Fresh and Affordable…You Can Count on Food Lion Every Day" strategy announced earlier this year.

"Since announcing our new strategy, we've been doing a lot across the Food Lion chain to create positive change. We're proud to continue that momentum by launching the first market of enhanced stores that bring all the elements of our new strategy to life to make shopping easier for customers," said Beth Newlands Campbell, president of Food Lion. "Our customers told us that they want a grocery experience where it's easy to shop, easy to save and easy to figure out what is for dinner tonight. In these enhanced stores, we've worked to deliver just that. We invite our customers and the Wilmington community to come out and experience grocery shopping reimagined at Food Lion and let us know what you think about our new stores." 

Food Lion expanded its selection in stores by adding thousands of new items, including a dedicated gluten-free section and produce that carry a double-your-money-back guarantee.

Food Lion also made deals easier to find throughout the store with new yellow signage and "Three Easy Ways to Save: MVP on Sale, Extended Savings and Great Value Every Day."

For busy families on the go, Food Lion also has added Daily Dinner Deals, hot meals for families of four for around $10. The grocer now has a wider variety of grab-and-go items and pre-sliced deli meats and cheeses, which are sliced fresh daily, but available for customers to pick up without waiting in line.

Knowing that customers want to get in and out of the store quickly, Food Lion made checkout faster with improved technology, larger display screens so customers can see items and prices as they're scanned and additional associates available to bag groceries for customers.

Food Lion stated that it will continue to roll out storewide enhancements in markets over time. The company plans to launch an additional 45 remodeled stores in the greater Greenville, N.C., market in November.

Furthermore, the launch of a new weekly flyer continues Food Lion's chain-wide improvements to support its "Easy, Fresh and Affordable…You Can Count on Food Lion Every Day" strategy. The new weekly flyer features an easy-to-navigate layout and easy-to-spot low prices, the company stated. An MVP Savings Center section on the back page also helps customers save more in store by combining weekly specials with coupons from the in-store kiosks.
 
 

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Surescripts adds Tom Skelton as CEO

BY David Salazar

Arlington, Va. — Health information network Surescripts has brought on Tom Skelton as its new CEO, the company announced Thursday. Skelton, who has worked in the health IT field for several years, will take his place at the helm of the company on Aug. 25. 

“Surescripts is at a critical point in its growth, so Tom will play a key role as we continue to perfect e-prescribing and expand our clinical network to create a comprehensive, unified healthcare system that improves care outcomes, increases efficiency and decreases costs,” Superscripts’ board of directors co-chairman Douglas Hoey said.

Skelton’s career in health IT reaches back to the 1980s, when he began as VP operations for medical software company Elcomp Systems, where he stayed until 1994. In 2000, he became CEO of Misys Healthcare Systems and founded Confluence Medical Systems in 2007. Mostly recently, he has been CEO of Foundation Radiology group.

“Tom has a deep understanding of the provider workflow, having previously led firms that develop technology products for physicians and clinicians, and brings tremendous operational and management experience, as well as a proven ability to set a clear vision for the development and commercialization of new technologies,” Surescripts’ board of directors co-chairman Steven Miller said. 

Now Skelton moves on to Surescripts, where he’ll oversee the company that connects about 100 different health systems and more than 850 hospitals in the United States.

It also provides electronic prescription services to 95% of community pharmacies.

“The progress Surescripts has made in recent years is a clear indication of the strength of its relationships with pharmacies, providers, payers, pharmacy benefit managers, retail clinics, health information exchanges and many others,” Skelton said.   

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Biologics restrictions result in lost savings

BY Richard Monks

Restricting access to samples of generic biological drugs would lead to nearly $140 million in lost savings for every $1 billion in biologics sales, Matrix Global Advisors said.

(For the full chain pharmacy section of DSN's Aug. 25 issue, click here.)

“This potential lost savings has enormous implications for the large and growing segment of pharmaceutical spending that biologics represent,” Matrix Global Advisors CEO Alex Brill wrote in “Prescription Drug Savings from Use of REMS Programs to Delay Generic Market Entry,” a report the firm issued last month examining how overuse of risk evaluation and mitigation strategies, or REMS, is slowing the stream of generics into the marketplace.

Biologics are the fastest-growing segment of the pharmaceutical market, he said, growing by 9.6% last year and accounting for 28%, or approximately $92 billion, of the country’s drug spending.

“In light of the forthcoming regulatory pathway for biosimilars and the pending patent cliff among biologics, access to biologic drugs for biosimilar approvals is critically important,” Brill said. “In the current REMS environment, biologics makers will have the same opportunity to restrict access to samples of biologic drugs, with negative consequences to payers and patients.”

Of the 64 approved individual REMS programs in effect today, 15 are for biologics. Brill said some generic drug makers already have reported restricted access to biologics samples.

More restrictions, he noted, are likely to have a dramatic impact on efforts to control healthcare spending.

“To capture the magnitude of the potential lost biosimilar savings from REMS misuse, we use the Congressional Budget Office’s assumptions about the market dynamics following biosimilar market entry,” Brill wrote in his report. “The competitive dynamics of the biologic drug market are not expected to mimic the dynamics in the small molecule market. CBO expects an eventual 40% biosimilar price discount and 35% substitution rate.”

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