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Getting the tweet out @ BI

BY Michael Johnsen

INGELHEIM, Germany —Boehringer Ingelheim perhaps is one of the more active pharma companies on a site like Twitter, regularly tweeting to its 1,600 followers.

BI first started tweeting last fall, with the thought that it would better be able to reach journalists with press material. That quickly evolved into a tool to get feedback from customers, John Pugh, BI director for global corporate communications/external communication, told Pharma Marketing Talk earlier this summer. Indeed, approximately 20% of its Twitter followers are flagged as journalists, and 15% are identified as doctors. The remaining followers are made up of customers and industry executives, including many BI employees.

“This year we are looking to use the Internet to engage with our customers,” Pugh said. “We want to provide a human side [to] the corporate perspective, and tools such as Twitter are key.” Accordingly, it’s not just the latest BI news that gets tweeted. BI frequently recommends other Web-based information around disease states addressed by BI, as well as articles BI believes its followers would find interesting.

Going forward, BI plans to develop a “stroke channel” on YouTube, where it will host a series of video interviews around strokes. Pugh reported he will raise awareness around BI’s YouTube presence by tweeting about it.

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Hy-Vee names new president

BY Alaric DeArment

WEST DES MOINES, Iowa A 28-year employee of Hy-Vee has become its new president, according to published reports.

The company appointed Randall Edeker as president of the supermarket chain Thursday at the company’s annual meeting, succeeding Ric Jurgens, who had served as president since 2001 and will maintain his position as chairman and CEO.

Edeker had previously served as EVP and COO.

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Tricare expands vaccination coverage to pharmacies, clinics

BY DSN STAFF

NEW YORK Convenience and value. That’s what community pharmacy and their retail clinic partners deliver to their patients. And that’s what the Department of Defense is counting on in covering immunizations at local pharmacies and identifying convenient care clinics as network providers — two separate pieces of news issued within the past month that really underscore the importance of pharmacies and retail clinics in the delivery of health care today.

Prior to these announcements, military personnel interested in getting their flu shots had to schedule an appointment with their doctor, as Tricare only covered the cost of shots delivered in a doctor’s office.

“As a convenient and accessible healthcare provider, pharmacy is uniquely positioned to offer services for patients, such as vaccinations,” stated Steve Anderson, president and CEO for the National Association of Chain Drug Stores. Anderson noted that as of earlier this year, pharmacists have the ability to immunize patients in all 50 states. “[This] presents an important opportunity for pharmacists to counsel patients during their visit, and an additional healthcare provider from which to obtain these vaccinations.”

It’s also quite a bit of opportunity for pharmacy — Tricare provides healthcare coverage for 9.5 million eligible beneficiaries. Those beneficiaries pick up almost 2.3 million prescriptions every week, and 1.2 million of those at retail pharmacies, according to Tricare .

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