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Most patients with rheumatoid arthritis spend $1,000 out of pocket, even if they have insurance

BY Alaric DeArment

PHILADELPHIA — The results of a large survey of patients with rheumatoid arthritis have been published, the company that conducted the survey said Wednesday.

The RA in America 2013 survey included 1,055 respondents with RA at all four stages of the disease — ranging from mild to very severe — who reported symptoms like hand and wrist pain and swelling, general body stiffness, knee pain and fatigue. Such symptoms occurred most frequently in patients between 45 years and 54 years. Respondents reported using a wide range of pharmacologic and complementary and alternative therapies, and 59% report spending more than $1,000 per year out of pocket despite most having health insurance. Almost one-quarter of respondents report being on disability, and 24.6% report that the disease affects their personal relationships; 29.6% report effects on professional development; and 30.6% report effects on relationships with their children.

"We were very pleased at the level of participation we received with this survey," Health Union president Tim Armand said. "For the general public, the results shed light on what it’s like to live with RA, and the results will help RA patients themselves see how others live with and manage the disease."

 

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Hamacher Resource Group to talk front-end strategy to pharmacy students

BY Michael Johnsen

WAUKESHA, Wis. — Hamacher Resource Group on Wednesday announced it will present a session about pharmacy layout, design and merchandising principles on Sept. 3 to third-year students in the Pharmacy School at Concordia University, in Mequon, Wis. 

Tom Boyer, a 19-year veteran of the retail consumer healthcare industry, national account manager and co-owner at HRG, will present these topics to help students understand the importance and profit potential of the front-end of the pharmacy. Boyer’s presentation includes merchandising guidelines to create a shopping experience that both improves customer satisfaction and boosts front-of-store sales.

“The students can connect their practice/experiential training both behind the counter and in the front-end, to the tools and services that Tom describes in his presentation," suggested Dean Arneson, dean of the Pharmacy School. 

This is Boyer’s second year presenting the importance of front-of-store merchandising to the Concordia pharmacy students. He also has given similar sessions at other pharmacy schools across the country, urging future pharmacists to pay attention to their customers’ needs and design their front end to encourage a pleasant shopping experience.

 

 

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Costco highlights craft brewers

BY Alaric DeArment

ISSAQUAH, Wash. — Craft brewers are the star of the show in the latest issue of Costco Wholesale’s member magazine.

For the cover story of the September issue of Costco Connection, the club retailer solicited stories from members who had turned brewing as a hobby into businesses, or dreamed of doing so, receiving more than 500 responses.

Breweries profiled include Two Brothers Brewing Co. of Warrenville, Ill.; Copper Kettle Brewing Co, of Denver; Mac & Jack’s Brewery of Redmond, Wash.; and Maui Brewing Co. of Lahaina, Hawaii.

The four profiles provide a snapshot of an industry that has grown rapidly in recent years, as home brewers turn their hobbies into businesses and Americans’ tastes broaden beyond mass-produced, light lagers. According to a recent report by IBISWorld, the number of craft brewers has grown by 10.9% per year since 2008, with 2,439 businesses showing 2013 sales of $3.9 billion and profits of $378 million, and expectations of more than 7% annual growth in the number of enterprises through 2018. American craft beers also have grown in popularity abroad, with $46.9 million in exports in 2013.

The Boston Beer Co., which makes Sam Adams, commands a 19.3% market share, while the Sierra Nevada Brewing Co., based in California, commands 5.1%. Pale ales make up the bulk of craft brews, about 41%, while lagers make up 27.9%, coffee-colored stouts and porters constitute 13%, and seasonal beers constitute 18.1%.

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