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Q&A: Helping care for others: John Learish, senior vice president, marketing, Rite Aid

BY DSN STAFF

Drug Store News: Why is caregiving important to Rite Aid, not only in Pittsburgh but nationwide?

John Learish: When you look at the caregiver segment, it’s growing exponentially. The statistics show that nearly 1-in-4 U.S. households currently cares for a relative or friend over 50. And as the population continues to age, this is something that, as a healthcare provider, we’re going to have to address.

This is why Rite Aid’s vision of being the customer’s first choice for health and wellness is so clear. It’s really our responsibility to be a healthcare resource and an extension of the care that these folks are providing to those in need.

When you talk to some of these caregivers, you hear some pretty heart-felt stories. Some of these folks have been caring for the elderly and the disabled for very long, extended periods of time. And it’s a difficult task. They don’t have good resources to help them with that [today]. We want to be that resource.

Pittsburgh is a great market for Rite Aid. But Pittsburgh is also one of the oldest markets in the country. So there’s a big unmet need for these kinds of services. But it’s not unique to Pittsburgh. It’s a trend you’re going to see grow exponentially across the country.

DrSN: What is the takeaway care-givers should have after visiting the Caregiver Expo?

Learish: This is one of the ways that we demonstrate our commitment to our vision of being the customer’s first choice for health and wellness. We want them to be able to come to us, not just for the products that we offer, cause they can get those products anywhere. It’s the resources that we provide that help them manage their health and the health of those they are caring for.

For the complete interview, visit www.drugstorenews.com.

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Stick Me Designs adds style to glucose meter bags

BY Michael Johnsen

VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. Stick Me Designs, an emerging accessory designer of diabetes glucose carrying cases for women, teens and children, announced the launch of their glucose meter bag collection Friday.

“While the medical supply industry is busy working on adding color, convenience and function to their meters, they’ve forgotten the most important aspect of their portability—the carrying case,” stated Rickina Velte, founder of Stick Me Designs. “We’ve taken on the task of infusing design, style and function that adds personality to an everyday necessity for people with diabetes.”

The new diabetes bags offer choices in color, fabrics, design and functionality.

The first collection features four contemporary designs created for the One Touch Ultra glucose meter and other more traditional larger-style testing meters. The bags have elastic placeholders for lancet devices, testing strips and glucose tabs or candy. They also feature interior open and zippered pockets for such everyday essentials as credit cards, identification, money, sanitizing wipes and an outside zipper pocket for other essentials.

Stick Me Designs’ introductory collection also features hand-selected faux suedes, designer upholsteries and cotton fabrics in retro and contemporary styles and colors.

Suggested retail prices will range from $32.99 to $45.99, the company reported.

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Continucare opens first clinic at Navarro

BY Antoinette Alexander

MIAMI Continucare Corp. has announced the opening of its first ValuClinic in-store health clinic within a Navarro Discount Pharmacy in Hollywood, Fla.

Similar to many other retail-based clinic models, the walk-in clinic will treat acute conditions and will be staffed by nurse practitioners and physician assistants.

According to Gabe Navarro, chief executive officer of the Miami-based pharmacy chain, Continucare was on the verge of opening a few locations in the recently acquired Sedano’s stores, so Navarro proceeded with the openings.

In October, it was announced that Navarro Discount Pharmacy would merge its operations with Sedano’s Pharmacy & Discount Store. Sedano’s is a Hispanic drug retail company with 11 pharmacies in the southern Florida market. Combined, the entity has more than 30 stores with annual revenues of more than $350 million. All of the stores are operating under the Navarro banner in the southern Florida market.

According to Navarro, plans call for Continucare to have three ValuClinics open in Navarro stores by the end of the year. It expects to have a total of 15 clinics in operation in 2008.

In late 2006 it was announced that Navarro had partnered with Express Clinics to introduce in-store health clinics to the southern Florida market; however, it is possible that partnership will come to an end.

“It is uncertain whether Express Clinics will continue to operate clinics in our stores,” Navarro told Drug Store News. “[We] should know more in the coming weeks.”

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