NPA broadens roles of two senior advocacy professionals; expands Capitol Hill outreach
WASHINGTON — The National Products Association promoted two senior advocacy staff members "as the association expands its regulatory and government affairs efforts," NPA stated Monday. Cara Welch now is SVP scientific and regulatory affairs, and Elizabeth Hurst is director government relations. In addition, Meg Mader was promoted to director of marketing.
“As the demand for natural products continues to grow, our responsibility as the industry’s representative grows as well," stated John Shaw, NPA executive director and CEO. "NPA is committed to ensuring that the public knows what is truly natural, that our members understand the complex rules and regulations governing our industry, and that policy-makers get the facts," he said. “Cara’s extensive experience in scientific and regulatory issues and Liz’s knowledge of state and federal policy will help further our commitment to our members on a national scale. Meg will strengthen our marketing outreach and help us share the benefits of going natural with our key audiences and everyday consumers.”
Prior to joining NPA, Welch earned her PhD from the Department of Medicinal Chemistry at Rutgers University under plant biologist James Simon. In new her role, Welch will oversee NPA’s quality assurance programs, including the NPA Natural Seal and Good Manufacturing Practices Certification for dietary supplements.
Hurst was the senior government relations specialist for the National Court Reporters Association before joining NPA in 2010 as state government relations manager. In her new position, Hurst will monitor state and local policy proposals, help direct government relations activity at the state and federal level and advocate on Capitol Hill on behalf of NPA members.
After joining NPA as marketing manager in 2011, Mader developed and executed an association marketing plan with four primary focuses: membership recruitment, 75th anniversary promotion, website enhancements and increased awareness and brand recognition for the Natural Seal.
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New Hy-Vee store to include full-service restaurant
URBANDALE, Iowa — Hy-Vee will close a store in central Iowa to prepare for the opening of a new store next door that the company called its "most innovative."
The company announced that the supermarket pharmacy in Urbandale, Iowa, would close on Sunday and be leveled to make way for a parking lot for the new store, set to open Aug. 14. The new store will include a casual dining spot called Market Fresh Grille that will become a full-service restaurant at 4 p.m., including trained servers and a menu that includes dishes created by the store’s chefs and a selection of wines and craft beers.
Other services include a sushi bar with seating, a coffee shop and lounge area with a stone fireplace, Italian gelato, a fruit and juice bar, an oatmeal bar and pizza fired in a wood stone oven, a wine and spirits shop, and an expanded housewares section with a cooking demonstration area. The new store will open the pharmacy and bank on July 16 to prevent disruptions in service for customers; the pharmacy also will include home delivery and a drive-through.
"Every new store is special in its own way, but this is perhaps the most innovative store Hy-Vee has ever built," store director Josh Asche said. "We’ve visited retailers throughout the country, looking at different store formats, and we’ve taken the best concepts we’ve seen and adapted them to create a whole new shopping experience for our customers."
Walgreens-USA Drug deal: Narrow networks making local marketshare battles key
WHAT IT MEANS AND WHY IT’S IMPORTANT — Narrow networks. They’re all the rage. If nothing else, narrow pharmacy benefit management networks emphasize local; and one analysis thread common among all the pundits discussing Walgreens’ recent acquisition of USA Drug is that Walgreens just got a whole lot more local across the Southeast. There’s a saying in the Southeast: "He who wants milk should not sit himself in the middle of a pasture waiting for a cow to back up to him." This proposed USA Drug acquisition is proof that Walgreens is by no means out to pasture, and with this acquisition they just became that much more relevant to southeastern employers considering the virtues of those narrow networks.
(THE NEWS: Walgreens to acquire mid-South drug store chain. For the full story, click here.)
The Walgreens/USA Drug deal is an important fill-in acquisition made all the more relevant by that trend toward narrow that the Wall Street Journal highlighted just last week (for that story, click here.) "Local market share growth provides incremental bargaining power against pharmacy benefit managers and payers," noted industry consultant Adam Fein in his latest DrugChannels blog. "Walgreens’ market share is already above 40% in such major cities as Chicago, Houston, Miami, San Francisco, Phoenix, Minneapolis, and St. Louis. The Southeast, where USA Drugs is strongest, fills an important map gap. Express Scripts was able to drop Walgreens from it network while still meeting access requirements, but it gets harder as the chain spreads."
And that begs the question: Are more regional-chain buyouts to come? So far, the general consensus is "You betcha!," at least according to a Drug Store News online reader poll posted last week. So far 81% (out of the 93 voters) feel that more regional chain buyouts are on the horizon. And it’s not just because of the narrow networks, necessarily. There also are mounting margin pressures and relatively no growth in the number of prescriptions dispensed nationwide that are making regional acquisitions very attractive. "Buying share is cheaper than taking it," Fein noted in his blog.
In addition, regional operators eyeing their golden years may be primed to sell. "Sadly, the age of entrepreneurial family-owned small chains is passing and if the price is attractive enough most will take the money and call it a day," suggested Jay Forbes, president of the Forbes Connection.
What do you think? Join the conversation and vote here.
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