PHARMACY

Personalized service from store attendants grows in importance for pharmacy retailers

BY Alaric DeArment

Rite Aid announced Monday the promotion of Karen Staniforth to group VP pharmacy initiatives and clinical services from her current position of VP pharmacy for the chain’s mid-Atlantic division. In her new position, Staniforth will oversee the company’s strategy around the Wellness Ambassadors, specially trained staff who walk the aisles of the stores and provide information on health and wellness products and programs, as well as serve as a "bridge" between the front end and the pharmacy.

From the beginning, Wellness Ambassadors have been a crucial part of Rite Aid’s Wellness store remodel program, and early on, John Standley, its chairman and CEO, noted that Wellness stores with Wellness Ambassadors showed stronger sales than those without them. As of the chain’s second-quarter 2014, the results of which it announced in September, there were 1,700 Wellness Ambassadors at 1,019 stores.

It’s the personalized, one-on-one service that the Wellness Ambassadors provide to customers that has made them such an asset for the company and helped them drive sales for the Wellness stores, not to mention the literal ambassadorial role they serve when they go out into communities to promote Rite Aid’s health and wellness programs.

Lately, Rite Aid has implemented a similar program as part of a test of its Beauty Vision concept at a select number of Wellness Stores, with special store attendants called Beauty Vision advisers providing information and advice on beauty and personal care products.

It’s too early to tell how the concept is doing, let alone what effects the the Beauty Vision advisers have had on sales, but early results from at least one store indicate that cosmetics sales there are tracking ahead of those at other stores. And chains like Walgreens, Duane Reade and Target have lately been expanding their respective Look Boutique beauty advisor and beauty concierge programs.

The idea of store attendants is nothing new, but it’s becoming increasingly popular for a number of retailers and retail formats that traditionally didn’t use them, showing that one-on-one service is of growing importance for driving customer traffic and sales.

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FDA gives second orphan drug designation to Teva’s Treanda

BY Alaric DeArment

JERUSALEM — The Food and Drug Administration has designated a drug made by Teva Pharmaceutical Industries as an orphan drug, the company said.

Teva said the drug, Treanda (bendamustine hydrochloride), received the designation for indolent B-cell non-Hodgkins lymphoma through October 2015 that has progressed during or within six months of treatment with a regimen containing Rituxan (rituximab), marketed by Genentech and Biogen Idec. The FDA gives orphan drug designation to treatments for diseases affecting fewer than 200,000 people in the United States.

"Since 2008, Treanda has played a significant role in the treatment of patients with iNHL that has progressed," Teva Oncology VP and general manager Bill Campbell said. "We are pleased the FDA has recognized our commitment to treating patients with this rare form of cancer."

The drug is also used to treat chronic lymphocitic leukemia, for which it also received orphan drug designation through March 2015.

 

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FDA approves Jubilant Life Sciences’ quetiapine fumarate tablets

BY Alaric DeArment

NOIDA, India — The Food and Drug Administration has approved a generic version of a drug for schizophrenia and bipolar disorder made by Jubilant Life Sciences, the Indian drug maker said.

Jubilant announced the approval of quetiapine fumarate tablets in the 25-mg strength. The drug is a generic version of AstraZeneca’s Seroquel.

Various versions of the drug have annual sales of about $59 million, according to IMS Health.

 

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