PHARMACY

Hamacher Resource Group enhances category management program to assist independents

BY Antoinette Alexander

WAUKESHA, Wis. — Hamacher Resource Group announced on Thursday that it has enhanced some of the strategies and deliverables of its core monthly category management program, Temps, with a focus on improving the front-end profitability of independent pharmacies.

In addition to introducing two new combination planograms, the company is incorporating even more actionable information in the monthly materials. Examples include breaking down merchandising steps into increments of time so the associate implementing the program can make their efforts most effective in the time available, and highlighting the top-performing subcategories so these sub-sections of the department are sure to receive attention, the company stated. The improvements to the Temps program is designed to help independent pharmacies streamline their front-end to include the SKUs that perform best in the channel and provide higher profit margins.

“We review the Temps program annually and make modifications based on customer feedback and what we’ve learned and observed in the industry,” stated Julie Bonnell, HRG director of operations and member of the owners group. “This year we proactively phone-surveyed our retailer, merchandiser and wholesaler customers, and we used their input to make these more widespread adjustments. We believe the changes, when executed, can positively impact an independent pharmacy’s bottom line.”

According to HRG research conducted in 2012, pharmacists rely on planograms to help manage their front of store. Collaborating with the Healthcare Distribution Management Association and other partners, HRG researched the independent pharmacy market, including interviewing shoppers, reviewing store POS data and surveying pharmacists.

 

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Easton Pharmaceuticals seeking investment in medical marijuana industry

BY Michael Johnsen

TORONTO — Easton Pharmaceuticals on Thursday announced it is speeding up negotiations with an Ontario-based company toward forming a possible investment/partnership toward their medical marijuana initiatives, which includes participating in their government application for both a growers and distributorship license in Canada and other possible international initiatives. 

This company has obtained some private financing, allowing it to recently file an application for licenses and expressed confidence of a government approval; however, that approval is not guaranteed, Easton noted. Additional updates and details on these discussions, including a possible agreement, are expected to be announced shortly.  

As of Jan. 1, the world’s first marijuana shops opened for business in Colorado, with more planned for Washington state in the United States. In Uruguay, the first country to legalize marijuana, the government will oversee the sale of marijuana this spring, and in Canada, where public support of marijuana has never been higher, new medical marijuana laws will usher in a free market that produces high-quality cannabis to support a rapidly growing number of users. 

In the United States, there are 20 states that permit medical marijuana use with New York state planning to do the same. Two of the 20 states plan to include provisions for recreational use. A recent CNN survey found that 55% of Americans support legalizing marijuana, up from 16% several years ago. 

According to a report by the financial news firm See Change Strategy, the medical marijuana industry could conservatively reach nearly $9 billion nationwide in the United States within five years, as more states in the United States clear the way to likely legalize marijuana for medicinal purposes.

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House restores $85 million in FDA sequestered user fees

BY Michael Johnsen

WASHINGTON — The U.S. House of Representatives on Wednesday voted to restore $85 million in Food and Drug Administration sequestered user fees.

“User fee programs are instrumental in the shared effort by FDA and the generic industry to help patients gain timely access to more affordable generic medicines and biosimilars,” stated Ralph Neas, president and CEO of the Generic Pharmaceutical Association. “Restoration of previously sequestered user fees, particularly those designated in accordance with the Generic Drug User Fee Act and the Biosimilar User Fee Act, is a necessary and commendable step. Now, Agency experts can get back to business, expediting site inspections and enhancing the generic drug application and review process to ensure that savings from generic medicines are realized by patients, government, businesses and others."

User fees expected from biosimilar product applications, paid for by manufacturers under the Biosimilar User Fee Act, will give the FDA the needed resources for timely review and feedback for companies developing biosimilar products, helping to speed biosimilars to market and give consumers a more affordable alternative to brand biologic medicines, GPhA stated. 

“GPhA, its members and partners throughout the supply chain look forward to continued collaboration with the FDA. GPhA remains in full support of the application of industry-supplied user fees for safe and timely access to generics and biosimilars,” Neas said.

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