PHARMACY

Grocery giants complete merger

BY Barbara White-Sax

Albertsons (AB Acquisition LLC) and Safeway completed their merger in early 2015, creating a new, privately owned supermarket pharmacy giant. The combined company should place Safeway/Albertsons among the top five supermarket retailers in the country.

(Click here to view the full report.)

At press time, Bob Miller was named CEO of the new company. Robert Edwards, former Safeway president and CEO, will continue as vice chairman.

The new company will be comprised of three regions and 14 retail divisions, supported by corporate offices in Boise, Idaho; Pleasanton, Calif.; and Phoenix. Banners will include Safeway, Vons, Pavilions, Randalls, Tom Thumb, Carrs, Albertsons, ACME, Jewel-Osco, Lucky, Shaw’s, Star Market, Super Saver, United Supermarkets, Market Street and Amigos. The company has not indicated that it will change the names of any of its stores.

Today, the company operates 2,230 grocery stores in 34 states and the District of Columbia.

In a statement at the time of the merger, Edwards said the larger company planned to continue its active local community focus, which will likely have a pharmacy concentration. In recognition of its outstanding immunization services, the American Pharmacists Association awarded Safeway its Corporate Immunization Champion award in 2014. APhA recognized the chain for its leading-edge position in immunization practice since the supermarket chain began offering immunization services in 2000.

The two chains offer a wide range of immunizations, health screenings and prescription savings programs. Safeway and Albertsons also have added Stayhealthy health kiosks to a number of locations. The combined company will likely extend Albertsons’ successful Diabetes Care Program to selected Safeway locations. The program enrolls patients with diabetes in diabetes seminars, diabetes management classes, or a six-month program of education and follow-up to encourage sustainable healthy lifestyle choices.

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PHARMACY

Pushing the envelope in food, beauty

BY Antoinette Alexander

It has been a year since Loblaw Co. completed its acquisition of Shoppers Drug Mart in a $12.4 billion deal that created a retailing powerhouse.

(Click here to view the full report.)

Shoppers Drug Mart is tapping into Loblaw’s strengths and expertise as evidenced by the expansion of its fresh foods pilot. Since October, six Shoppers Drug Mart stores in Toronto have been piloting an improved convenience food offering, including fresh produce, meats and prepared meals. The pilot is expanding to Regina, where eight Shoppers Drug Marts are being renovated by May.

Also at the front end, Shoppers Drug Mart continues to push the envelope in beauty with its enhanced beautyBOUTIQUE. In August, the company unveiled its fourth location.

Housing 21 prestige brands, the beautyBOUTIQUE features new fixtures, digital signage, enhanced fragrance and dermatology areas.

Pharmacy, however, remains an extremely critical component of its business.

Among the more recent developments is that Shoppers Drug Mart pharmacists in Alberta can now offer flu screenings in store — a first for Canadian pharmacies. Patients can now get screened for influenza A or B using a new flu screening tool available exclusively at Shoppers Drug Mart. Results are available 10 minutes after the screening is administered. In Alberta, many pharmacists now have additional prescribing authorization, which gives them the ability to prescribe treatment depending on screening results.

To help curb medication errors and reduce hospital readmissions, five Shoppers Drug Mart locations in Greater Sudbury, Ontario, teamed up with Health Sciences North/Horizon Santé-Nord to launch a pilot project. Patients who are being discharged from North/Horizon Santé-Nord are advised to have a consultation with their Shoppers Drug Mart pharmacist to discuss all the medications they are currently taking, in addition to new medications prescribed.

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Gaining insight on quality measures

BY Michael Johnsen

Picking up almost 600 new stores in 2014, McKesson’s Health Mart is a forward-thinking pharmacy franchisor that focuses on a key component of community pharmacy success — the pharmacist-patient relationship. That personal relationship is becoming more important as the industry moves toward value-based reimbursements influenced by measured patient outcomes.

(Click here to view the full report.)

“To help our Health Mart pharmacies get more insights into their performance on the important quality measures, Health Mart has provided our members access to EQuIPP, an online platform that makes pharmacy performance data available to health plans and community pharmacy organizations,” Sarah Torbin, McKesson spokeswoman, told Drug Store News. “Using this platform, the stores can review their performance data, compare their performance to industry benchmarks and identify areas in patient care and clinical outcomes that could be improved.”

To help pharmacists build relationships with healthcare professionals in their community, McKesson offers its Physician Outreach Program that provides physician-specific data on more than 1.5 million prescribers, identifies high-opportunity prescribers and determines the best mix of services to offer. Last year, McKesson added patient visibility to the program, where users are able to see aggregated de-identified patient data.

And Health Mart in 2014 added more flexibility to its Local Marketing Support program in an effort to make marketing efforts more local. Health Mart pharmacies now have access to the Marketing Hub, Health Mart’s marketing portal designed to give owners the flexibility to promote their specific service offerings.

Health Mart also expanded Your Pharmacy Online, a consumer-facing customizable pharmacy website and mobile application that offers pharmacies a suite of services to support patient medication adherence and positive health outcomes, while driving prescription refills.

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