NACDS launches new advocacy campaign
BONITA SPRINGS, Fla. The National Association of Chain Drug Stores today announced it is launching an ambitious advertising campaign as part of what organization leaders describe as an increasingly proactive outreach to policy makers.
The ads feature the tagline: “Pharmacies. The face of neighborhood healthcare.” The focus is on services provided by pharmacists, including convenience, accessibility, expertise, prevention of drug interactions and patient counseling.
NACDS president and chief executive officer Steve Anderson unveiled the ad campaign at the annual NACDS Regional Chain Conference here. “Today, we are announcing a major campaign to tell our story like never before,” Anderson said. “We are turning up the volume on this central message: Pharmacies are essential to health care.”
A coordinated, “inside the Beltway” advertising and public relations effort will target Capitol Hill, the White House, the media and opinion leaders in Washington. NACDS will launch the campaign beginning next month in local publications, in transit settings with high commuter visibility, on drive-time radio and online.
While pharmacists and pharmacies already enjoy a positive image, Anderson said this goodwill does not translate consistently into appropriate treatment in healthcare policy. He said pharmacy could be utilized more effectively to address issues of concern, including the estimated $177 billion in annual direct and indirect costs that result from failure to take prescription drugs as prescribed.
“I believe we are even better equipped, and better focused, to tell the true story of this industry, and to turn this testament into results for your businesses, for the patients and consumers you serve, and for the good of the nation,” he told regional-chain pharmacy leaders at the conference today
In line with the ad program, Anderson called on members at the event to redouble their lobbying and outreach efforts with local representatives and policymakers, and said the organization has developed a new toolkit for its members to encourage grassroots advocacy.
“NACDS member advocacy was a key ingredient in the pharmacy victories achieved in 2007,” he told conference-goers. “Continuing our grassroots efforts in 2008 is imperative—we know the critical issues that we face, we have a united voice, so let’s keep speaking. They are listening.”
Anderson cited the role of grassroots advocacy in 2007 in efforts to block pending Medicaid pharmacy reimbursement cuts, acquiring a six-month delay in implementing the requirement that all Medicaid prescriptions be written on tamper-resistant prescription paper and enactment of legislation that will preserve access to retail pharmacies for military members and their families in the TRICARE health program.
General Imaging to sell cameras at Walgreens
LAS VEGAS General Imaging used the first day of the Photo Marketing Association show to announce it will begin selling its cameras at Walgreens in April.
The buzz on opening day at PMA centered on the new wave of new cameras loaded with such features as face and smile recognition at lower prices, a product of a mature market that’s unlikely to match the 34 million cameras sold in the U.S. last year. “Walgreens has been selling some of our cameras on their Web site but they’ll soon be selling them in 6,000 stores,” said Rene Buhay, General Imaging senior vice president of sales and marketing, Americas. “And this will be our first venture into the food and drug category.”
Speaking from the PMA show floor in Las Vegas, Buhay said stores would carry the basic A735 and E850 models with prices starting at $89. “Having our cameras available in stores that are so familar to generations of Americans is a great accomplishment,” he said. “This will help us greatly in further extending our brand.” Buhay said entering Walgreens would expand its GE branded line of cameras to more than 22,000 storefronts. The company also unveiled nine new cameras at PMA.
The PMA show will run until Feb. 2 and is expected to attract more than 20,000 attendees who will check out the latest cameras and printers from major vendors, including Canon, Kodak, Sony, Nikon and Hewlett-Packard.
HearAtLast opens its first stand-alone U.S. location
TORONTO HearAtLast Holdings, which operates hearing clinics within select Wal-Mart and Sam’s Club locations, has announced the opening of its U.S. first clinic in The Villages, an adult community in Florida.
Prior to the opening, HearAtLast Stores operated exclusively within select Wal-Mart Stores and Sam’s Clubs throughout Canada. The company has nearly doubled its locations expanding from eight to 15 outlets between October and December of 2007. With the newest location, there are currently 16 hearing clinics in Canada and the United States.
The U.S. HearAtLast location is the product of a joint venture between HearAtLast and Vivatone Hearing Systems, a maker of digital hearing aids.
HearAtLast locations sell a selection of hearing aids and offer complimentary screening tests, clinical hearing tests, instant custom MP3 headphones and custom hearing protection.