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Polley elevating food-store pharmacy

BY Jim Frederick

ARLINGTON, Va. —The Food Marketing Institute’s hiring of high-profile pharmacy affairs veteran Catherine Polley signals a profound recognition by the supermarket industry of pharmacy’s critical role in the future of food-store retailing.

Polley, who most recently served as chief policy officer and senior vice president of government and professional affairs at the American Pharmacists Association, joined FMI Sept. 12 as vice president of pharmacy services, a new position for the supermarket organization. She will spearhead a new pharmacy public affairs program launched this year to strengthen industry advocacy on federal pharmacy policy, the trade group said.

As such, Polley will work closely with senior public affairs executives at other pharmacy organizations and with FMI’s Pharmacy Affairs Council. “She is going to be the face of food-retailing pharmacy to the rest of the pharmacy world, and one of the things the council wants her to do is build very strong relationships with the other pharmacy organizations,” explained John Motley III, FMI’s senior vice president of government and public affairs.

In line with Polley’s move to FMI, the organization also is committing additional resources to its pharmacy division, including the funding of new lobbying efforts specifically on behalf of supermarket pharmacy, Motley said.

Polley brings to FMI a wide range of experience in public policy and pharmacy operations. An 18-year veteran of Kmart Corp., where she rose to director of pharmacy, government and trade relations, Polley also served for six years as vice president of state government affairs for the National Association of Chain Drug Stores. In that post, she served on the association’s strategic planning committee, educated lawmakers and the media about industry issues and policies, and trained pharmacy employees to become stronger advocates.

In 2006, Polley was named co-president of the Coalition for Community Pharmacy Action, composed of NACDS and the National Community Pharmacists Association.

“Cathy is a forceful advocate for community pharmacies, including more than 19,000 operated by FMI member companies,” said FMI president and chief executive officer Tim Hammonds.

“I’m delighted to be here,” Polley told Drug Store News Sept. 13, on the first day following her arrival at FMI. “There’s a big commitment within the FMI membership for pharmacy.”

Polley pledged to build on the collaborative efforts already under way between FMI and other pharmacy organizations like the National Association of Chain Drug Stores and the National Community Pharmacists Association. “In many cases, the issues and our positions will be the same. We need as much education about pharmacy as we can get on federal policy issues and on [Capitol] Hill…to really help educate policymakers.”

Two factors led FMI to lure Polley to head an expanding pharmacy affairs division at the organization, Motley added. For one thing, he said, “It’s become something our membership is focused on. And people said pharmacy in the food retailing industry has matured. And since it has, it really needs to be more represented in the FMI framework.”

Secondly, the executive said, “Like all of pharmacy over the last four or five years, supermarket pharmacy has felt the sting of the federal government, particularly in things like Medicare and Medicaid and what it tried to do in the TRICARE [mandatory mail order] issue last year. And there was a feeling that by putting the resources into this effort, we could bring another ally onto the field to be involved in important pharmacy policy issues.”

Among issues still to be addressed is the future role that FMI’s senior manager of educational programs, Laurie Gethin, will play in the pharmacy affairs arena. Gethin is well-known to supermarket pharmacy leaders for her role in directing the annual FMI Pharmacy Conference.

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Kroger appoints Going as Michigan division president

BY Adam Kraemer

CINCINNATI The Kroger Co. announced Wednesday that it has named Rick Going president of the company’s new Michigan division.

Kroger currently operates 138 stores in the state; Going will oversee operations in them, effective immediately.

During his 26-year tenure with Kroger, Going has held a number of district- and division-level leadership positions at the store and has served as vice president of Retail Operations and vice president of Merchandising for Kroger’s Cincinnati/Dayton division.

“Rick brings extensive experience in operations and merchandising to this new role,” said Don McGeorge, Kroger’s president and chief operating officer. “We look forward to his leadership as he works with our associates to build on Kroger’s growth in Michigan by focusing on our customers to create even better shopping experiences for them.”

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NACDS responds to “misleading” New York Times article

BY DSN STAFF

ALEXANDRIA, Va. The National Association of Chain Drug Stores has fired back at The New York Times after the publication ran an article in its Sept. 18 issue titled, “The ‘Poisonous Cocktail’ of Multiple Drugs.”

The NACDS said the article misrepresented the role of chain pharmacies in the prevention of harmful drug interactions. The article blamed, “places where chain stores have replaced independent pharmacies or when the patient’s drug plan requires that medications be ordered by mail.” The NACDS retaliated by stating that all pharmacists, no matter whether they work in a chain or at an independent pharmacy, counsel patients for drug interactions and rely on medication information for this purpose.

The NACDS said the article misrepresented the role of chain pharmacies in the prevention of harmful drug interactions. The article blamed, “places where chain stores have replaced independent pharmacies or when the patient’s drug plan requires that medications be ordered by mail.” The NACDS retaliated by stating that all pharmacists, no matter whether they work in a chain or at an independent pharmacy, counsel patients for drug interactions and rely on medication information for this purpose.

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