RETAIL NEWS

Kroger expands Instacart partnership

BY Michael Johnsen

Kroger on Monday expanded its partnership with Instacart to increase its customer delivery coverage area in 2018.

“As part of Restock Kroger, we are investing in redefining our customers’ grocery shopping experience by bringing online and offline seamlessly together,” Yael Cosset, Kroger chief digital officer, said. “Having grown our digital sales in 2017 by 90%, we continue to accelerate our digital roadmap in 2018 to make shopping with Kroger simpler and more personalized.”

The Cincinnati-based retailer currently delivers from more than 872 stores across the country, and it offers 1,091 curbside pickup locations with plans to add 500 new locations in 2018.

“When you look at Kroger’s customer coverage area for seamless shopping, two-thirds of our customers – more than 40 million households – have access to curbside pickup and/or delivery,” Cosset said. “With the expansion of our Instacart partnership, it provides Kroger the opportunity to increase our delivery offerings even further and when you combine it with our successful curbside service, it will help us accelerate our ecommerce reach significantly.”

“We are thrilled to work with Kroger and share the same vision of bringing same-day grocery delivery to more American households and cities every day,” Nilam Ganenthiran, Instacart chief business officer, said. “When an admired household brand such as Kroger unites with a leading technology platform in Instacart, it is our customers who ultimately win.”

Kroger now offers home delivery in 45 markets through Instacart and other delivery partners.

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Ritzman Pharmacy at NEOMED concept store celebrates two years

BY Michael Johnsen

Ritzman Pharmacy at NEOMED on Monday celebrated the two-year anniversary of the opening of its Pharmacy of the Future that all started with a discussion in 2015 to redefine the patient experience.

“Our patients are pleased with the service and innovation we provide,” Hannah Cross, managing pharmacist and a 2013 NEOMED College of Pharmacy graduate, said. “We are committed to being their pharmacy of choice for their health and wellness needs.”

In celebration, Ritzman Pharmacy launched The Never Quit Collection from their RefreshinQ brand. This new collection contains a Muscle Relief Cream to help relieve joint and muscle pain; Power PaQ, an electrolyte and immune support drink mix; and Workout and Recovery, a pre-packaged daily dose supplement packs to assist both with everyday aches and pains as well as energy depletion.

Ritzman Pharmacy at NEOMED promotes community-oriented, whole-person health by providing access to services that promote better overall health outcomes. Most notably, the pharmacist comes out to talk to patients instead of staying behind the counter to simply fill prescriptions. This consultative approach contributes to a more engaged and impactful patient-centered experience. The Ritzman team also provides wellness educational opportunities.

The partnership between Ritzman Pharmacies and the College of Pharmacy at NEOMED emerged as they shared a common goal of promoting whole-person health and wanting to build a practice site that is patient-centered, community-oriented and pharmacist-accessible.

 

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Walgreens, Good Days cut costs for low-income patients

BY Michael Johnsen

A recent Walgreens Center for Health & Wellbeing Research study showed that a collaboration between the nonprofit foundation Good Days and Walgreens local specialty pharmacies decreased medication copays by between 98% and 100% for low-income patients with complex conditions such as cancer, hepatitis C and rare diseases. In addition, data showed that collaborations between Walgreens and charitable organizations can also help decrease other costs that may inhibit treatment, including premiums and transportation to medical appointments.

“Helping our patients obtain life-extending medication by reducing the financial barrier is a critical step in their care,” Chris Creamer, senior director, Specialty Pharmacy Operations at Deerfield, Ill.-based Walgreens, said.  “Our specialty-trained pharmacists and technicians at our nearly 300 community-based specialty pharmacies throughout the country have a passion for caring for our patients holistically.  Collaborations with organizations like Good Days, ensures [that low-income patients can] afford to start and continue critical treatments.”

“Patient assistance charities provide a financial safety net  to individuals who may not otherwise be able to access the life-saving medication they need. There are many side effects that a patient may experience while taking the prescribed medication, however bankruptcy should not be one of them,” Clorinda Walley, president of Good Days, said. “When there is no cost-effective alternative, a hefty copayment without the support of charitable assistance only discourages necessary care. This research illustrates the needs of individual patients and the benefits of cost-sharing.”

The retrospective study regarding low-income patients won honorable mention in the 2017 PAN CHALLENGE and was published in the American Journal of Managed Care.  This study used a joint pharmacy and foundational database to assess patient outcomes.

Key takeaways included:

  • While the average annual income of patients who received financial assistance was only $20,000, their copay before assistance was as high as $4,200 a year, representing a significant burden on their families;
  • After medication copay financial assistance, patient copays were reduced to between $0 and $51 per year for patients; and
  • The high-cost burden of medications used to treat costly diseases could be reduced if patients were able to take advantage of financial assistance programs offered by non-profit organizations, foundations and pharmaceutical companies.

The article was published in the third annual supplement featuring winning papers from the PAN Challenge, a collaboration between The Patient Access Network Foundation and The American Journal of Managed Care to encourage scholarship that would find new solutions to the challenges of patient access and cost sharing when patients need life-saving therapies.

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