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Q&A: Jim Marini, Matrixx Initiatives

BY Michael Johnsen

NEW YORK The H1N1 virus has impacted cough-cold with increased awareness and illness. To get a sense of cough-cold performance at the halfway point, Drug Store News talked to Jim Marini, VP sales for Matrixx Initiatives.

Drug Store News: Retailers had been dialing down their cough-cold inventory the past few seasons; how is that playing out this year?

Marini: The 2009-2010 cold-flu season reversed [recent stocking] trends, primarily driven by the outbreak of H1N1. … In the summer, we adjusted our calendar third-quarter estimate, [and] after several meetings with our key retail partners, we developed a strategy to support the anticipated early season demand. … The H1N1 media attention increased overall consumer awareness of the cold-flu season, [enhancing] the significance of the cold-flu preparedness merchandising programs. … The strong vendor/retailer partnership was instrumental in preparing for the early seasonal demand. Without these collaborative efforts, we would have experienced dissatisfied consumers, and would have lost opportunities had adequate product not been available.

DRSN: What is the rate of illness with colds so far as compared to last year?

Marini: We believe we have experienced the peak of the H1N1 impact on the category and will begin to experience a rise in normal cold-flu incidences heading into next quarter. Overall, we are planning on illness levels of up to a 17% increase over year ago.

DRSN: In light of Matrixx’ product recall earlier this year, how has the Zicam brand name fared?

Marini: The retailers’ support of the Zicam brand … allowed us the opportunity to aggressively go after our primary marketing goal of converting Zicam nasal cold remedy consumers to our Zicam oral cold remedy product line. We are pleased with the early season results.

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Hy-Vee names new president

BY Alaric DeArment

WEST DES MOINES, Iowa A 28-year employee of Hy-Vee has become its new president, according to published reports.

The company appointed Randall Edeker as president of the supermarket chain Thursday at the company’s annual meeting, succeeding Ric Jurgens, who had served as president since 2001 and will maintain his position as chairman and CEO.

Edeker had previously served as EVP and COO.

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Tricare expands vaccination coverage to pharmacies, clinics

BY DSN STAFF

NEW YORK Convenience and value. That’s what community pharmacy and their retail clinic partners deliver to their patients. And that’s what the Department of Defense is counting on in covering immunizations at local pharmacies and identifying convenient care clinics as network providers — two separate pieces of news issued within the past month that really underscore the importance of pharmacies and retail clinics in the delivery of health care today.

Prior to these announcements, military personnel interested in getting their flu shots had to schedule an appointment with their doctor, as Tricare only covered the cost of shots delivered in a doctor’s office.

“As a convenient and accessible healthcare provider, pharmacy is uniquely positioned to offer services for patients, such as vaccinations,” stated Steve Anderson, president and CEO for the National Association of Chain Drug Stores. Anderson noted that as of earlier this year, pharmacists have the ability to immunize patients in all 50 states. “[This] presents an important opportunity for pharmacists to counsel patients during their visit, and an additional healthcare provider from which to obtain these vaccinations.”

It’s also quite a bit of opportunity for pharmacy — Tricare provides healthcare coverage for 9.5 million eligible beneficiaries. Those beneficiaries pick up almost 2.3 million prescriptions every week, and 1.2 million of those at retail pharmacies, according to Tricare .

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