PHARMACY

Promotional push on new services

BY Barbara White-Sax

Discount Drug Mart made two key acquisitions last year that strengthened the chain’s position as a locally owned, full-service specialty pharmacy chain that can meet an array of consumer health needs.

(Click here to view the full report.)

Its acquisition of Hastings, a professional medical equipment supplier, allowed the chain to increase its selection of durable medical equipment and offer new services to its customers. “Many of these items are for customers who have recently been in the hospital and are still in need of some of the assistance provided there. Our customers are now able to visit our stores and speak to a home health care specialist to order the products they need, from hospital beds to oxygen tanks,” said Amanda Akin, marketing specialist at the chain. “Hastings will deliver the equipment to their homes and set it up. The acquisition helps Discount Drug Mart be a one-stop shop for consumers.”

The chain also acquired Gentry Health Services specialty pharmacy service. The acquisition allows the chain to provide specialty prescriptions to its customers chainwide, particularly to patients with AIDS and cancer.

Discount Drug Mart is focused on promoting the new services through in-store signage, promotional mailers, and circular and television, radio and digital media ads. “We like to advertise ourselves as the ‘hometown pharmacy,’ focusing on the idea that we don’t have large stores, and customers don’t have to park too far away from the front door,” said Akin. “We stress convenience for older generations and parents with young children.”

The company continued to emphasize its immunization program, which includes flu, shingles, pneumonia and other vaccines. The chain also focused on expanding its Pets Meds program, which offers pet medications often below veterinarian prices.

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PHARMACY

Joining the regional chain power list

BY Jim Frederick

Welcome to the big leagues, Haggen Food & Pharmacy.

(Click here to view the full report.)

In a transformative and bold stroke, the owners of Bellingham, Wash.-based Haggen Inc. bought a big chunk of former Albertsons and Safeway stores in the western United States early this year, vastly expanding the chain’s size and reach. The buyout also vaulted the company into the ranks of top U.S. pharmacy retailers for the first time in its 82-year history.

Haggen’s aggressive expansion was triggered by the Albertsons and Safeway merger, and a ruling by the Federal Trade Commission that the two companies shed a significant number of stores to complete the merger. As part of the divestment process, Haggen is buying and converting 146 of those stores operating under the Albertsons, Safeway, Pavilions and Vons brands.

“With this acquisition, Haggen will expand from 18 stores with 16 pharmacies to 164 stores with 106 pharmacies; from 2,000 employees to more than 10,000 employees; and from a Pacific Northwest company with locations in Oregon and Washington to a major regional grocery chain with locations in Washington, Oregon, California, Nevada and Arizona,” Haggen reported on Feb. 11.

Haggen chairman John Caple called the deal a “momentous acquisition” and “a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to rapidly expand the Haggen brand across the West Coast.”

The takeover and store conversion process will be complete by mid-2015. “Each week, between one and 12 stores will be converted,” Haggen spokeswoman Deborah Pleva reported.

“We’re excited about the changes we’re making to enhance these stores with more locally sourced food offerings, genuine service and homemade quality,” said Bill Shaner, CEO of Haggen’s new Pacific Southwest division.

Other services include wine tastings and nutritional education programs.

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New store design concept rolls out

BY Antoinette Alexander

With a new store format rolling out across its network and a successful medication synchronization program well underway, Thrifty White is working hard to stay abreast of the changing retail pharmacy landscape.

(Click here to view the full report.)

One of the major initiatives underway at Thrifty White is the continued rollout of its Healthy Outcomes pharmacy design. There are currently 24 locations that have been converted to the Healthy Outcomes model, and the company plans to have another 12 locations converted by the end of 2015. Going forward, the company looks to convert 10 to 12 stores a year.

Thrifty White’s Healthy Outcomes pharmacy features a new design with kiosk drop-off and pickup counters, ask your pharmacist desk, patient wellness rooms, patient education kiosk, a digital television for patient programs and services, and a pharmacy drive-through. The interior finishes include a maple-wood look throughout the store.

Meanwhile, Thrifty White continues to see great success with its medication synchronization program, which launched in November 2011. Today, about 57,000 patients are enrolled in the program.

Under this program, all of a patient’s prescriptions are synchronized. So patients on multiple medications can pick up all of their prescriptions at once. On pickup day, the pharmacist will review the prescription regimen, monitor changes from any doctor or hospital visits and check for any possible drug interactions.

In-store immunizations continue to be an important — and growing — service offering for Thrifty White as its immunization business more than doubled last year. And all of the stores now have a clear waiver to perform biometric screenings either on-demand at the store or off-site at, for example, an employer’s business.

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