PHARMACY

Health Mart hits 2,000-store mark

BY Jim Frederick

SAN FRANCISCO Fast-growing retail pharmacy franchiser Health Mart announced today it has hurdled past a significant milestone with the addition of its 2,000 drug store member.

The franchise chain, owned and operated by McKesson Corp., has been on a tear since its re-launch in June, 2006, growing more than 500 percent in the past two-and-a-half years.

Driving growth: the concept’s appeal to hard-pressed independent drug store owners, who look to membership in a franchise network backed by McKesson’s deep pockets, merchandising expertise and business resources to bolster their business amid blistering competition from chain pharmacy retailers.

“Health Mart’s rapid growth is a direct result of what the Health Mart brand has come to represent in the industry,” asserted Health Mart president Tim Canning. “When consumers walk into a Health Mart pharmacy, they know they’re going to receive high-quality, personalized care.”

Programs and solutions developed by the McKesson division “are empowering independents to not only thrive in today’s marketplace, but to set new standards of customer and operational excellence within the industry,” Canning added.

The franchise chain is apparently gaining converts among U.S. consumers: in June, Wilson Health Information ranked Health Mart No. 1 in overall pharmacy customer satisfaction in the 2008 WilsonRx Pharmacy Satisfaction Survey.

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Women’s stress levels may be hit harder by economy, report says

BY Michael Johnsen

WASHINGTON Women may be more prone to stressing out over poor economic conditions, which could have an impact on their health, a report from the Society for Women’s Health Research revealed last week.

Citing a recent survey from the American Psychological Association called “Stress in America,” SWHR noted that women are expressing fear about the current financial situation more than men. Women are also reporting physical and psychological symptoms, including sleep disturbances, headaches, mood swings and changes in appetite, in higher numbers than men.

Three quarters of male respondents to the APA survey expressed fear about the economy, compared to 84 percent of women.

“Women are sometimes more aware of the stress they are feeling,” Stephanie Smith, public education coordinator for the APA and a licensed clinical psychologist in Erie, Colo., said. “They are often more willing to talk about it and admit to the struggles they are having.”

Women also tend to be the primary caretakers for most families, which in times of economic crisis, can add to the burden. “Women have many roles to play in life. They are often the primary caregivers for children and the older generations [aging parents], as well as workers in industry,” Smith said. 

In addition, many of the traditional household responsibilities end up falling on the shoulders of women. “As much as things have changed over the years, women still tend to do more of the household work,” Smith said, referring to cooking, cleaning and laundry. “Taken together, these things often lead to more stress in women, because they just have more things to be stressed about.”

Women are more likely to report unhealthy behaviors, including eating poorly and excessive shopping and napping as a response to stress. They are also more likely than men to report physical symptoms of stress, including headaches, exhaustion and depression.

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SilverScript announces continuation of Medicare Rx drug plan options

BY Alaric DeArment

WOONSOCKET, R.I. A subsidiary of CVS Caremark announced Friday that it would continue offering several Medicare Prescription Drug Plan options next year in all 34 domestic Medicare regions and Puerto Rico.

SilverScript offers Medicare beneficiaries three plans, depending on patients? budgets and healthcare needs. They range from SilverScript Complete, a zero-deductible plan that covers generics through retail and mail-order pharmacies and copays as low as $6 for 90-day supplies, to SilverScript Value, a low-premium plan designed for beneficiaries who take few medications but want coverage in case their health needs change.

“Medicare beneficiaries will again have three SilverScript plan offerings to consider when selecting the prescription drug coverage plan that best fits their healthcare and medication needs,” CVS Caremark vice president for Medicare Part D services Jim Maritan said.

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