PHARMACY

Joining the regional chain power list

BY Jim Frederick

Welcome to the big leagues, Haggen Food & Pharmacy.

(Click here to view the full report.)

In a transformative and bold stroke, the owners of Bellingham, Wash.-based Haggen Inc. bought a big chunk of former Albertsons and Safeway stores in the western United States early this year, vastly expanding the chain’s size and reach. The buyout also vaulted the company into the ranks of top U.S. pharmacy retailers for the first time in its 82-year history.

Haggen’s aggressive expansion was triggered by the Albertsons and Safeway merger, and a ruling by the Federal Trade Commission that the two companies shed a significant number of stores to complete the merger. As part of the divestment process, Haggen is buying and converting 146 of those stores operating under the Albertsons, Safeway, Pavilions and Vons brands.

“With this acquisition, Haggen will expand from 18 stores with 16 pharmacies to 164 stores with 106 pharmacies; from 2,000 employees to more than 10,000 employees; and from a Pacific Northwest company with locations in Oregon and Washington to a major regional grocery chain with locations in Washington, Oregon, California, Nevada and Arizona,” Haggen reported on Feb. 11.

Haggen chairman John Caple called the deal a “momentous acquisition” and “a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to rapidly expand the Haggen brand across the West Coast.”

The takeover and store conversion process will be complete by mid-2015. “Each week, between one and 12 stores will be converted,” Haggen spokeswoman Deborah Pleva reported.

“We’re excited about the changes we’re making to enhance these stores with more locally sourced food offerings, genuine service and homemade quality,” said Bill Shaner, CEO of Haggen’s new Pacific Southwest division.

Other services include wine tastings and nutritional education programs.

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PHARMACY

New store design concept rolls out

BY Antoinette Alexander

With a new store format rolling out across its network and a successful medication synchronization program well underway, Thrifty White is working hard to stay abreast of the changing retail pharmacy landscape.

(Click here to view the full report.)

One of the major initiatives underway at Thrifty White is the continued rollout of its Healthy Outcomes pharmacy design. There are currently 24 locations that have been converted to the Healthy Outcomes model, and the company plans to have another 12 locations converted by the end of 2015. Going forward, the company looks to convert 10 to 12 stores a year.

Thrifty White’s Healthy Outcomes pharmacy features a new design with kiosk drop-off and pickup counters, ask your pharmacist desk, patient wellness rooms, patient education kiosk, a digital television for patient programs and services, and a pharmacy drive-through. The interior finishes include a maple-wood look throughout the store.

Meanwhile, Thrifty White continues to see great success with its medication synchronization program, which launched in November 2011. Today, about 57,000 patients are enrolled in the program.

Under this program, all of a patient’s prescriptions are synchronized. So patients on multiple medications can pick up all of their prescriptions at once. On pickup day, the pharmacist will review the prescription regimen, monitor changes from any doctor or hospital visits and check for any possible drug interactions.

In-store immunizations continue to be an important — and growing — service offering for Thrifty White as its immunization business more than doubled last year. And all of the stores now have a clear waiver to perform biometric screenings either on-demand at the store or off-site at, for example, an employer’s business.

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PHARMACY

Expanding a regional drug chain

BY Michael Johnsen

Care Pharmacies now boasts 79 affiliates, three more than last year, but grew its 2014 sales by almost $100 million. That’s not as much attracting larger operators to the consortium’s business model, where each of the independent operators own a stake in the parent company, as much as it is attracting operators pre-positioned for growth.

(Click here to view the full report.)

“Bigger is not better for us, better is better,” Michael Wysong, Care CEO, told Drug Store News. Care Pharmacies has stores operating in 10 states, including Washington, D.C., and currently is looking to expand its East Coast regional drug chain model to the West Coast with additions of several California specialty pharmacy retailers in the year ahead, he said. “We want the very best community retail and specialty pharmacies in our organization because we know the changing reform is going to require the right groups of people working collaboratively in the service of the customers. If you can do that, and you can do that under the premise of taking advantage of what the independent community pharmacies do very well, and you can do that under an umbrella of continuity — I think that is a powerful combination.”

In 2014, Care Pharmacies continued its evolution toward a regional drug chain functionality with an independent’s flair for service and quality. “When you look at reform and what’s coming with the move from fee-for-service to fee-for-value, a lot of the local acute care institutions are looking for that solution. So in 2014, we’re really in the early seeds of our Transition for Care [hospital readmission] program. That’s why the quality piece has really become front and center for us as we head into 2015.”

The other big initiative headed into 2015 is Care Pharmacies’ transition to McKesson as its wholesaler.

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