PHARMACY

Rite Aid: Loyalty program targets seniors, rewards prescription fills

BY Alaric DeArment

Like any company looking to stage a turnaround, Rite Aid has employed multiple tactics to return to profitability and win back investors’ favor, but few of those programs have been as important to the chain’s efforts as its loyalty card program.

While it’s neither the first retail pharmacy loyalty program nor the largest, Wellness+ stands out as being the first to tie in specifically to the pharmacy — and that’s what has helped make it so successful.

According to the latest numbers the chain has available, the number of active members — defined as those who have used the card at least twice over a 26-week period — stands at about 25 million.

In June, Rite Aid said Wellness+ members accounted for 77% of front-end sales and 70% of prescriptions filled, both indicating growth over first quarter 2013. Gold and Silver members, increased by 4% during the same period.

A key part of the program is that it gives the biggest rewards — and the fastest way to become a “Silver” or “Gold” member — for filling prescriptions at the pharmacy. For that reason, the program holds strong appeal to patients with multiple chornic conditions, or polychronic patients.

The latest extension to the Wellness+ program since the 2011 launch of Wellness+ for Diabetes, Wellness65+ offers expanded pharmacist consultations, Wellness65+ Wednesday — in which members receive 20% off all qualifying purchases and access to activities like free health screenings — and access to health information. As of September, when Rite Aid announced its second-quarter 2014 earnings, Wellness65+ had 930,000 members enrolled, and president and COO Ken Martindale said in an analyst call that seniors had been “very receptive” to it.

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PHARMACY

Bringing simplicity to health care

BY Antoinette Alexander

Simplicity plus connectedness equals engagement. That secret recipe is at the heart of Target’s strategy, touching and shaping every aspect of its business, including health care.

Target is working to create a simpler healthcare experience for its guests.

To learn more about how Target is leveraging its clinics, pharmacies, specialty pharmacy and front-end offerings to help consumers navigate the complex healthcare landscape, DSN recently met with several key Target executives at the retailer’s headquarters in Minneapolis in a series of interviews for DSNTV.

Bridging design, innovation, wellness

“Engagement is really what the healthcare industry overall is after,” Marc Baer, Target senior director health care told DSNTV. “Engagement means that people will work to stay healthy.”

Baer talked about how Target is leveraging its larger philosophy around design and innovation to help simplify health care for its guests. One example: Clear Rx, which “takes something as nondescript as a pill bottle and makes it easy to use and promotes medication safety,” Baer said.

Aligning clinics, pharmacy, front-end

“We know that with increasing costs across the [healthcare] system … we need to play a role in helping people address barriers to adherence,” Target associate medical director Kevin Ronneberg told DSNTV.

Ronneberg discussed Target’s strategy for aligning its in-store clinics, pharmacies and front-end products and services to help keep Target relevant to its guests, payers and providers, including the continued expansion of its clinics and MTM programs, and growing its partnerships with physician groups.

Challenging new ideas

In an effort to fuel innovation in health care, Target unveiled in September a contest to generate ideas to simplify health care and help individuals and families live healthier lives: the Target Simplicity Challenge.

The goal is to identify ideas to address two big challenges in health care: managing chronic conditions and supporting individual wellness and prevention efforts.

Submissions were accepted at TargetSimplicityChallenge.com through Oct. 24. Winners will receive $25,000 and a chance to partner with Target to bring the idea to life.

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Walgreens finalizes Kerr Drug deal

BY Michael Johnsen

DEERFIELD, Ill. — Walgreens on Friday announced that it has completed its acquisition of certain assets of Kerr Drug’s retail drug stores and specialty pharmacy business. In fiscal year 2012, Kerr Drug’s retail drugstores and specialty pharmacy business recorded total sales of $381 million.

Financial terms of the agreement were not disclosed.  

As previously announced in September, the acquisition is an asset transaction and includes Kerr Drug’s retail drug stores, specialty pharmacy business and a distribution center. 

Kerr Drug retained ownership of its long-term care pharmacy business.

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