New look, new leadership
Ritzman Pharmacies is getting a new look in 2015 after the recent appointment of pharmaceutical industry veteran George Glatcz as COO.
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“We are very excited to launch a new brand and look,” Christina Cyrus, Ritzman spokeswoman, told Drug Store News. “At the same time, we are working very hard to remove operational burdens from our associates so that they can spend as much time as possible serving our patients and communities. We are excited to launch more services and programs that will help our communities with their overall wellness, active living and simplify the prescription services we currently offer.”
Last year, Ritzman introduced immunizations and medication therapy management into its pharmacy service portfolio. The chain also rolled out is med-sync program across its pharmacy base and added automation to its compliance packaging. Ritzman also operates a compliance packaging pharmacy, a home infusion pharmacy and a specialty care service.
“As Ritzman continues to grow and look for new avenues to provide pharmacy services to our customers, George’s … leadership will bring Ritzman to the forefront of community pharmacy,” said Eric Graf, CEO of Ritzman, when Glatcz joined the company this past fall.
Glatcz began his career as a practicing nuclear pharmacist and has experience working in pharmaceutical product development and marketing. Glatcz also has consulted with healthcare marketing services on brand strategy development and product commercialization.
In addition to delivering on that small-town pharmacy promise of personalized service, Ritzman specializes in its own Ritzman brand line of supplements.
Adding vaccines to services
From the beginning, Pharmaca’s format has included expert health advocates — professionals licensed in such fields as nutrition, skin care, homeopathy, naturopathy and herbal studies — who work in conjunction with pharmacists to develop health treatments and regimens unique to each customer and patient. And that personal level of care and expertise extends to the chain’s expanding beauty selection, as well.
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“With our staff of estheticians and expanding number of Natural Beauty Bars, customers can shop for spa-quality beauty brands and enjoy the convenience of in-store beauty services like brow waxing, makeup application [and] makeovers,” Mark Panzer, Pharmaca president and CEO, told Drug Store News.
In the past year, Pharmaca has expanded its portfolio of health-and-beauty services to include immunizations for influenza, pneumonia, shingles and whooping cough on a walk-in basis. To help promote that new offering, members of Pharmaca’s Feel Better Rewards loyalty program this fall received a gift coupon for $5 worth of retail shopping when they get their flu shot at Pharmaca.
That loyalty program is another differentiator that helps distinguish the Pacific Northwest pharmacy chain. “We use our Feel Better Rewards loyalty program to maintain direct contact with our customers, which helps us grow both in brick-and-mortar business and e-commerce,” Panzer said. “Our loyalty program has been growing rapidly over the past two years and continues to be a great benefit in driving loyalty, but most importantly, driving basket-size and customer transactions.”
Pharmaca currently operates 29 stores (two were opened recently) and expects to open two additional new stores this year. “Our newest northern California (Los Altos) location will open in April 2015 and will also follow the non-pharmacy format,” Panzer said. “We’re planning additional fill-ins to existing markets, which includes the Pacific Northwest market, the Bay Area and also the San Diego-Los Angeles market.”
Special services set chain apart
Fruth Pharmacy focused on improvements to its core pharmacy business in 2014.
While the company focuses on “good, old-fashioned service,” its pharmacy services are state-of-the-art.
“We’ve also been focusing on clinical aspects of the pharmacy and driving completion of MTMs and TIPS (Targeted Intervention Programs),” said Fruth president and chairman Lynne Fruth. “Our pharmacy system, PDX-EPS, has allowed us to integrate clinical and adherence programs, as well as CoverMyMeds to help with prior authorizations.”
The chain has achieved incremental prescription growth as a result of a major promotional push to enroll patients in its mobile app refill and pick-up reminders. More than 9,000 patients have enrolled in Fruth’s text-reminder service.
The company also has increased its television, radio and print advertising in 2014 and continues to expand its presence on social media with special offers, contests and human interest stories.
Last year, to help its home state fight the growing incidence of meth labs, the chain was the first in West Virginia to stop selling non-tamper resistant OTC pseudoephedrine products.
Rite Aid, Walgreens and CVS soon followed Fruth’s lead to great success. “Today, 62% of the single ingredient PSE sold in West Virginia is tamper resistant, and West Virginia meth labs were down by 40%,” Fruth said. “Fruth Pharmacy, a small regional chain, led the way.”
The chain continues its efforts to reach its community through public health programs and immunizations. Last year, the company doubled its flu immunizations over 2013.
The company relocated and completely redesigned two stores last year and added diabetic sections to all stores to better merchandise a full array of offerings for patients with diabetes.
Several locations also were redesigned to better accommodate onsite clinic and Express Care programs the chain offers in partnership with local hospitals and mid-level providers.