PHARMACY

NACDS supports delaying the implementation of the GS1 DataBar technology

BY Allison Cerra

ALEXANDRIA, Va. Editor’s Note: The story that appeared June 23 regarding the removal of the UPC-A bar code system may not have been clear. UPC-A symbol was slated to be removed from manufacturer coupons in January 2010, not from the marketplace.

An organization representing the country’s retail pharmacy chains expressed its support for postponing the removal of the universal product code bar code system.

The UPC-A bar code was scheduled to be removed from the U.S. manufacturers’ coupons beginning on Jan. 1, 2010. NACDS complimented and supported the Grocery Manufacturers Association’s recommendation that the GS1 DataBar system implementation be delayed until Jan. 1, 2011.

The Joint Industry Coupons Committee, of which NACDS is a member, believed this deadline could create undue and significant economic hardship for America’s consumers, businesses and retailers, who may not be ready or equipped to handle the new coupon system. JICC also recommended that the GS1 DataBar system implementation be delayed until Jan. 1, 2011.

“In this tough economic environment, it is justifiable to temporarily postpone the implementation of the new GS1 DataBar technology,” said NACDS president and CEO Steve Anderson. “This mandated technology change – especially for those surrounding money-saving coupons – must be viewed through the lens of the economic reality faced by retailers and their valued customers.”

In its original statement, GMA said that “the GS1 DataBar readiness survey was disseminated mid-March 2009 to the industry to solicit feedback pertaining to retailer/manufacturer readiness for the Jan. 1, 2010 implementation of the GS1 DataBar on coupons,” GMA said in their statement. “The response data from this survey suggests that removal of the UPC-A barcode beginning Jan. 1, 2010 will create a significant hardship for many retailers who may not be equipped to scan the new GS1 DataBar by this date. For this reason, the Joint Industry Coupon Committee recommends that the UPC-A barcode not be removed from coupons beginning Jan. 1, 2010. The JICC recommends a deferred implementation date of Jan. 1, 2011 to help ensure that the industry has enough time to prepare for proper implementation of the GS1 DataBar.

“The JICC recommendation to defer implementation should not dissuade ready retailers that are eager to capitalize on the additional capabilities of the DataBar from beginning to scan the new symbol on or before Jan. 1, 2010,” GMA added.

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Obama signs tobacco legislation

BY Alaric DeArment

WASHINGTON President Barack Obama signed legislation into law Monday that imposes sweeping new regulations on tobacco.

The law, the Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act, bans several common tobacco products and marketing techniques and creates a new center within the Food and Drug Administration, the Center for Tobacco Products, to oversee regulation of the industry.

In an address in the White House Rose Garden, Obama cited the tobacco industry’s targeting of children.

“They’re aggressively targeted as customers by the tobacco industry,” Obama said. “They’re exposed to a constant and insidious barrage of advertising where they live, where they learn and where they play. Most insidiously, they are offered products with flavorings that mask the taste of tobacco and make it more tempting.”

Those products, such as cigarettes flavored with cloves and fruit, will be gone by October, though menthol cigarettes will remain legal. Products advertised as “light,” “low-tar” and “mild” will disappear from store shelves by July 2010.

Other youth-targeted marketing, such as sponsorship of athletic and entertainment events using tobacco product brand names and logos, selling or giving out promotional items with brand names and logos of tobacco products and distributing free cigarette samples will also be banned, as will tobacco advertising within 1,000 feet of schools and playgrounds. Distributing free samples of smokeless tobacco will still be allowed in adults-only venues.

Tobacco companies must submit to the agency a full list of additives and ingredients in tobacco products, a description of nicotine content and delivery and information about the health effects of tobacco by January 2010. By July 2011, cigarette packs will carry warning labels that occupy half of the front and back panels.

“Today, thanks to the work of Democrats and Republicans, healthcare and consumer advocates, the decades-long effort to protect our children from the harmful effects of tobacco has emerged victorious,” Obama said.

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Glen’s Markets launches generic discount program

BY Alaric DeArment

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. A supermarket chain in the Midwest has launched a generic discount program.

Glen’s Markets announced Friday that all of its pharmacies serving communities throughout northern Michigan will begin selling 30-day supplies of more than 300 generic drugs for $4 and 90-day supplies for $10.

“Our expanded generic drug program is another example of the many ways we are making it easier for customers to stretch their food, healthcare and household dollars,” EVP merchandising Alan Hartline stated. “Our customers can continue to rely on the expert health counsel and friendly service our team of professional pharmacists consistently offer.”

The Grand Rapids, Mich.-based chain gradually has introduced the program in its stores that have pharmacies. Glen’s Markets is the latest chain to offer a generic discount program since Walmart began the trend in 2006.

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