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Good Neighbor Pharmacy donations help community pharmacy thrive

BY David Salazar

Above: Lovell Award Recipient Stultz Pharmacy of Flatwoods, Ky. was recognized for its resilience after a longtime customer accidentally drove their SUV into the storefront.

LAS VEGAS — On the show floor at Good Neighbor Pharmacy’s ThoughtSpot 2015 in July, attendees had an opportunity to support their fellow community pharmacists by making a donation to the National Community Pharmacy Association Foundation’s disaster relief and pharmacy assistance fund. AmerisourceBergen leaders announced at the conference that the company pledged to match up to $50,000 for any contributions made to the foundation from July 30 through August.

“The fund has been around since 1953, and it had the purpose of helping pharmacists who need extra help at difficult times due to weather conditions, fire or flooding, or even illness,” NCPA Foundation president Sharlea Leatherwood told Drug Store News. “It's helped a lot of pharmacists. We've given a little more than $200,000 in the last few years. … It's always difficult to get funds, and when you most need them like that, sometimes it gets difficult. … We're especially interested in the matching funds that AmerisourceBergen has offered.”

At ThoughtSpot 2015, Good Neighbor Pharmacy donated an additional $5,000 to the Disaster Relief Fund on behalf of this year’s Lovell Award Recipient, Stultz Pharmacy of Flatwoods, Ky. Stultz Pharmacy was recognized for its resilience after a longtime customer accidentally drove their SUV into the storefront. Pharmacy employees got the store back up and running within hours by using two mobile registers.

Like AmerisourceBergen’s interest in supporting community pharmacists, the ties between Good Neighbor Pharmacy and the NCPA Foundation parent organization run deep. AmerisourceBergen has donated to various scholarship funds that the foundation oversees and has played a key role in establishing the Good Neighbor Pharmacy NCPA Pruitt-Schutte Student Business Plan Competition Fund.

The three finalists in the 2015 competition will present their business plans at the NCPA’s annual convention in October. The finalists are teams from the South Carolina College of Pharmacy, the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences College of Pharmacy and the University of Minnesota College of Pharmacy.

Named for two former NCPA presidents who have passed away, the competition fosters interest in independent pharmacy among pharmacy students by offering prizes to the student teams with the best business plans for either opening an independent pharmacy or purchasing a community pharmacy. The top three projects win cash prizes and an equivalent donation in the pharmacy school dean’s name to support independent pharmacy.

“Since the competition started, there has been such a change in interest in pharmacy schools and in ownership,” Leatherwood said. “It used to be, when I would speak at a pharmacy school, I would always ask how many of you plan on going into community pharmacy ownership, and you'd get just one or two hands. Over the years, since that program began, I've seen an astronomical increase — almost everyone raises their hands now.”

For AmerisourceBergen, supporting initiatives that encourage up-and-coming pharmacists to get involved in independent community pharmacy and ensuring that the NCPA Foundation has the funds to support community pharmacists in their hour of need is part of a strategy outlined by AmerisourceBergen Drug Corporation President Bob Mauch.

“We are aligning our strategy to help our customers win in the marketplace. Rather than sitting in a corporate office and deciding what the AmerisourceBergen strategy should be necessarily, we’re focused on how we’re going to align our resources to help our members win,” he told Drug Store News earlier this year. “It’s exciting, because when you think about how our capabilities line up with our customer’s needs — and particularly community pharmacy customer’s needs … those are the things that we do. That’s the expertise that we have. It’s in our DNA, frankly.”

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Former Walgreens senior operator to lead Fred’s store operations

BY Michael Johnsen

MEMPHIS, Tenn. — Fred’s Super Dollar has named John Foley as the company's EVP store operations, the company announced Wednesday morning. Mike Holligan, who formerly served in this capacity, will move to the open position of regional VP store operations.
 
“John's addition will extend the momentum we have developed in store operations and will further strengthen the talent of our management team, one of the key steps we have outlined that will help position Fred's to drive profitability and grow its convenience/pharmacy-centric model,” Fred’s CEO Jerry Shore said. “We are grateful for the sacrifices and contributions Mike Holligan has made during this past year in leading all store operations.”
 
More and more, Fred’s is fielding several heavy-hitting retail pharmacy operators that has been molding the Southeast regional into a successful retail pharmacy/value operator hybrid. Heading up Fred's as president and COO is CVS Health marketing and merchandising veteran Michael Bloom, who himself served as president and COO of dollar store operator Family Dollar. Filling the chief merchandising and marketing officer spot at Fred's is Bryan Pugh, who was a product pioneer for Walgreens for more than 10 years. 
 
Then there’s Fred's homegrown pharmacy operator Rick Chambers, who joined Fred’s as a pharmacist after graduating from the Univeristy of Tennessee College of Pharmacy in 1992. In his 23 years at the company, Chambers has gravitated to EVP pharmacy and has played a significant role in elevating the role of pharmacy at Fred’s. 
 
And now retail pharmacy operations executive Foley. Foley brings to Fred's more than 30 years of experience in retail pharmacy chain experience. For the past nine years, he was corporate operations VP at Walgreens, responsible for the Eastern Division, which in 2014 accounted for approximately $20 billion in revenue from more than 2,500 retail pharmacies, health care clinics and specialty pharmacy units. Prior to this role with Walgreen's, Foley served as a district manager for six years and was a store manager for 11 years.

 

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Poll: Almost 1-in-4 duped by unverified online medical advice

BY David Salazar

KENILWORTH, N.J. — A new survey from Harris Poll on behalf of Merck Manuals is highlighting the potential dangers of the vast amount of medical information on the Internet. The survey found that 24% of Americans have been misled by information about a symptom or illness because of an unverified online source. Among parents with children younger than 18, 30% have been misled, and 43% of millennials have been, too. 

“Clicking the first article that pops up in an online search may be the easiest course when researching health issues, but it can also be dangerous if the information doesn't come from a credible source,” Merck Manuals editor-in-chief Dr. Robert Porter said. “These results underscore the need for greater access to and awareness of highly credible health information.” 

In response to the survey data, Merck Manuals and its international counterpart MSD Manuals have developed a credibility test called the STANDS method. It includes: 

  • Source: Does the article or website cite authorities and have credentials?
  • Transparent: Is it clear whether it is an education or commercial site?
  • Accessible: Do you have to register, and is there contact info if users have concerns?
  • Neutral: Is it a resource or is the information only given in exchange for users buying products or visiting advertised websites?
  • Documented: Do medical experts update the resource?
  • Secure: Can the content be accessed without sharing personal information? 

The push for people to know whether they’re trusting credible sources for health information is part of the Manuals’ Global Medical Knowledge 202 initiative, which is pushing to make accurate and up-to-date medical information available to three billion people by 2020.

“The Internet will continue to be flooded with new health information and websites, which is why we need to stress to consumers the importance of identifying credible health information sources,” Porter said.

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