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Quality ‘FastCare’ with a personal touch

BY Alaric DeArment

When one hears “mass-merchandise retailer,” the next words that come to mind are likely a combination of Walmart, Target and Kmart. But though Shopko might not enter the consciousness of those who don’t live in a city with a Shopko store, the chain has made it a mission to stay on the cutting edge of the industry.

On the heels of its expansion in 2008 and 2009, when it opened four new Shopko stores and two new Shopko Express stores, the company also has expanded its retail clinic business and now has a total of 22 FastCare Clinics. It also completed a 22-store pilot program of having its pharmacists administer immunizations, and has since rolled out the pharmacist-administered immunization training to all of its pharmacies. Like many chains, Shopko has added a personal touch to dealing with its customers, launching an interface with Google Health and expanding its persistency and compliance programs to include letters, point-of-sale and telephone calls.

Following the appointment of W. Paul Jones as CEO last March, Shopko followed up with the April appointments of Mike Bettiga as EVP and COO, while Jill Soltau became EVP and chief merchandising officer. Bettiga assumed responsibility for store operations, legal, real estate and logistics. Soltau began working as an SVP and GMM apparel and accessories in 2007.

In October 2009, the company promoted Jeff Csuy to the position of SVP and GMM apparel and accessories, Soltau’s former position.

SHOPKO

Headquarters: Green Bay, Wis.2009 sales: $2 billion% change vs. 2008: -1%No. of stores: 141*No. of stores with Rx: 140 Avg. store size: 80,000 sq. ft.Rx sales: $590 million% of sales from Rx: 28%Sales per store: $15 million* Includes five Shopko Express stores Source: Drug Store News

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Schnucks’ O’Brien to serve on Department of Agriculture advisory committee

BY Alaric DeArment

ST. LOUIS An executive from Schnuck Markets will serve on an advisory committee of the Department of Agriculture, Schnucks said this week.

Agriculture secretary Tom Vilsack announced that Schnucks VP produce and floral Mike O’Brien would be one of 25 people appointed to a two-year term on the USDA’s Fruit and Vegetable Industry Advisory Committee. O’Brien is also vice chairman of the Produce Marketing Association.

 

“I am honred to represent Schnuck Markets and the retail produce industry as a member of this committee,” O’Brien said. “I am looking forward to the opportunity to contribute and to make a difference for families across the nation.”

The committee, originally chartered in 2001, advises the secretary of agriculture on industry issues related to fruits and vegetables.

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Gilead commences phase 3 trial for single-tablet HIV treatment

BY Alaric DeArment

FOSTER CITY, Calif. Gilead Sciences has started a late-stage clinical trial of an investigational 4-in-1 treatment for HIV, the drug maker said.

Gilead announced the initiation of a phase 3 trial of its “Quad” HIV drug, a single-tablet treatment that combines elvitegravir, cobicistat, emtricitabine and tenofovir disoproxil fumarate. The study will compare the Quad regimen with the standard of care among adults with HIV-1 who have not taken antiretroviral treatments. The company is also investigating cobicistat as a standalone boosting agent for antiretroviral drugs.

“We are pleased to announce that the Quad phase 3 clinical program is underway,” Gilead EVP research and development and chief scientific officer Norbert Bischofberger said. “Efficacy and safety results from the phase 2 study suggest that the Quad may represent an important new option for patients with HIV.”

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