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Ohio sports, Rx team up to win customers

BY Michael Johnsen

Cleveland’s hometown drug store this past fall signed a major deal with Cleveland’s best shot at becoming a title town. Fifty-eight of Discount Drug Mart’s 69 Ohio locations have become exclusive, full-service retail outlets to sell tickets to all Quicken Loans Arena events, including courtside seats for the NBA’s Cleveland Cavaliers, and tickets to the AHL’s Lake Erie Monsters, Arena Football League’s Cleveland Gladiators, concerts and other events.

As part of the deal, Discount Drug’s brand will be featured on all Cavaliers/Monsters/Gladiators communications, and the pharmacy will be the sponsor of a half-time giveaway for fans.

This past fall, Discount Drug introduced a “Winter Wellness” care package, which included a hand sanitizer, antihistamine and other products to ward off winter colds, with each prescription to its loyalty cardholders, already 1 million strong. “That was a very successful program,” Tom McConnell, CFO and SVP finance, told Drug Store News. “We’re going to continue [that wellness theme] with a summer wellness program,” he added. Frequent use of the loyalty card also ties into the Quicken Loans Arena marketing deal—customers can earn points with each purchase that can be redeemed for Cleveland Cavaliers jerseys or other merchandise.

Other significant events for Discount Drug in the past year include the addition of wigs to its already extensive lineup of durable medical equipment. The wigs are designed for oncology patients and can retail from $150 to $1,000. Many insurers provide their patients with an allowance toward the purchase of a wig, McConnell said.

DISCOUNT DRUG MART

Headquarters: Medina, Ohio2009 sales: $530.5 million*% change vs. 2008: 1.9%No. of stores: 69No. of stores with Rx: 69Avg. store size: 25,000 sq. ft.Rx sales: $234.2 million% of sales from Rx: 44.1%Sales per store: $7.7 million* Sales exclude former mail-order business, sold in 2009. Source: Drug Store News

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Schnucks’ O’Brien to serve on Department of Agriculture advisory committee

BY Alaric DeArment

ST. LOUIS An executive from Schnuck Markets will serve on an advisory committee of the Department of Agriculture, Schnucks said this week.

Agriculture secretary Tom Vilsack announced that Schnucks VP produce and floral Mike O’Brien would be one of 25 people appointed to a two-year term on the USDA’s Fruit and Vegetable Industry Advisory Committee. O’Brien is also vice chairman of the Produce Marketing Association.

 

“I am honred to represent Schnuck Markets and the retail produce industry as a member of this committee,” O’Brien said. “I am looking forward to the opportunity to contribute and to make a difference for families across the nation.”

The committee, originally chartered in 2001, advises the secretary of agriculture on industry issues related to fruits and vegetables.

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Gilead commences phase 3 trial for single-tablet HIV treatment

BY Alaric DeArment

FOSTER CITY, Calif. Gilead Sciences has started a late-stage clinical trial of an investigational 4-in-1 treatment for HIV, the drug maker said.

Gilead announced the initiation of a phase 3 trial of its “Quad” HIV drug, a single-tablet treatment that combines elvitegravir, cobicistat, emtricitabine and tenofovir disoproxil fumarate. The study will compare the Quad regimen with the standard of care among adults with HIV-1 who have not taken antiretroviral treatments. The company is also investigating cobicistat as a standalone boosting agent for antiretroviral drugs.

“We are pleased to announce that the Quad phase 3 clinical program is underway,” Gilead EVP research and development and chief scientific officer Norbert Bischofberger said. “Efficacy and safety results from the phase 2 study suggest that the Quad may represent an important new option for patients with HIV.”

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