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Minyards offers free prenatal prescription vitamins to expectant mothers

BY Drew Buono

DALLAS Minyard Food Stores, which also operates Sack’n Save and Carnival Food Stores, is running a free promotion in the North Texas area for mothers to be.

The company is offering free prenatal prescription vitamins to all expectant mothers for one year, which includes three months after delivery. The promotion is called “Start Life Healthy” and is available to all expectant moms as long as they bring in or ask their doctor to send a prescription for one of three types of prenatal vitamins.

The vitamins being offered are: Advanced Natalcare, Natatab Rx and NatalCare Plus, which are manufactured by Ethex.

Prescriptions will be filled one month at a time and can be transferred from another pharmacy for women who are currently on a prenatal program as long as the prescription is for one of the three selected Ethex formulations. Minyards is stating that program will save families anywhere from $20 to $50 per month, depending on the formulation selected.

Also, as part of the “Start Life Healthy” program, the company has also prepared a brochure, “How to Prepare for a Healthy Baby, Your Guide to Nutrition During Pregnancy,” that is available free from any Carnival, Minyard and Sack? Save pharmacist.

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CVS releases first Corporate Social Responsibility report

BY Antoinette Alexander

WOONSOCKET, R.I. CVS Caremark announced on Tuesday that it has released its first Corporate Social Responsibility report.

The report, which is available online at www.CVS.com, covers such matters as prescription safety, customer privacy, environmental management, and the safety of its products such as personal care items.

In the report, the retailer also explains what it is doing to “provide exceptional customer service throughout its enterprise, create a great workplace environment, instill strong corporate governance practices and make a positive difference in local communities, and in particular among children with disabilities.”

“Publishing our first CSR Report has been a thorough and comprehensive endeavor that encompassed virtually every department across our broad organization. In many ways it has helped us gain a further understanding of the issues that matter most to our customers, stockholders, local communities, and other stakeholders,” stated Tom Ryan, chairman, president and chief executive officer of CVS Caremark. “And in turn, we hope our report will provide our stakeholders – including our employees – with a deeper appreciation of how our mission and core values are rooted in our commitment to corporate social responsibility.”

Data presented in the report is from 2007 and will serve as baseline for future reports. In some instances, the baseline data covers the entire enterprise; in other cases the data pertains just to CVS/pharmacy operations. Data from 2007 was provided rather than for multiple years, as is generally preferred for CSR reports, because of the timing of the merger between CVS and Caremark, which was finalized in mid-2007, the company stated.

Going forward, the intent is to establish companywide metrics, especially for environmental indicators, and report data for the entire enterprise.

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FMI leaders stress health and wellness at annual meeting

BY DSN STAFF

LAS VEGAS Growing awareness of nutritional issues, wellness and preventive health among consumers has handed the supermarket industry a golden opportunity to build stronger ties to the U.S. population and a stronger business model, leaders of the Food Marketing Institute told members at the group’s annual meeting.

Held alongside the 2008 FMI Supermarket Pharmacy Conference, the food-store industry’s biggest annual gathering showcased the growing movement in healthier eating and wellness—and in the rapid integration of in-store supermarket pharmacies with the food offerings out front. That point was brought home in a series of speeches and seminars for both supermarket pharmacy and grocery executives, and on display among vendors on the massive trade floor of the Mandalay Bay Convention Center.

Leaders of both FMI and its growing pharmacy division stressed the opportunity for food- and combo-store retailers to capitalize on Americans’ rising clamor for healthier eating alternatives. Consumers are demanding both nutritional advice, said FMI president and chief executive officer Tim Hammonds, and pharmacists who can bridge the gap in the supermarket between medicinal counseling and nutritionally driven wellness programs.

“Health and wellness … is a space that supermarkets can own,” Hammond told members. “This is a great opportunity … connecting the dots between health and wellness.”

Supermarkets that contain in-store pharmacies, Hammonds added, also derive “a tremendous halo effect from the pharmacist being there.”

The current economic downturn can also spell opportunity for supermarket retailers, said Hammonds, who announced plans to retire after a successor is named, following 15 years as head of the organization. “Food retailers can turn these economic challenges into benefits for consumers and the industry,” he said. “As people eat out less often, we can help revive the great American home family meal tradition.”

FMI’s decision to hold its main industry gathering and its annual pharmacy conference side-by-side gave the industry’s pharmacy leaders a chance to review health and wellness options alongside their food-store counterparts. It also gave them the chance to meet with the organization’s first vice president of pharmacy services, Catherine Polley.

Polley joined FMI in September after a career with the National Association of Chain Drug Stores, the American Pharmacists Association and Kmart Corp. The group’s annual pharmacy powwow was her first chance to address supermarket pharmacy leaders at the event since being named to the new post.

Addressing supermarket pharmacy leaders, Polley stressed the need to integrate pharmacy and wellness with the nutritional advantages offered by supermarkets. She also recapped the top challenges facing food-store pharmacy, including shrinking Medicaid reimbursements and patient compliance.

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