Remington College offering pharmacy technician program
NEW YORK This is the second new pharmacy technician certification program to be announced in a week (the other being Rasmussen College) and marks the continued evolution of the pharmacy technician — whose job really no longer entails just ringing out a prescription-drug purchase and making sure patients sign the prescription-drug logbook.
Rather, today’s technician is more and more being asked to perform more intense pharmacy-related tasks that don’t require a doctorate to do — handling insurance billing, for example, or prepping sterile IVs and compounding. Such being the case, more and more states are seeking to certify their pharmacy technicians, and that’s creating demand for accredited curriculum to help educate those seeking certification.
And some of that education goes well beyond what you might expect to learn actually working behind the pharmacy counter. It also goes beyond what you might learn taking typical business courses at a local community college such as customer service or retail management training. Some of the curriculum at these institutions include basic anatomy classes as well as a basic education around pharmaceuticals and the disease-states that many of their customers are treating with those pharmaceuticals.
That, more than ever, is setting the stage in establishing a baseline education to help pharmacy technicians do more of what they’re already doing today — and that’s make over-the-counter medicine recommendations to their customers. With more programs such as this, as well as more states initiating pharmacy technician requirements, educating the pharmacy technician around OTC therapies may become as important as educating pharmacists and nurse practitioners, especially given the fact that pharmacy technicians are likely to be interacting more often with that customer with a question.
Walgreens confirms departure of Van Howe
NEW YORK If any retail observer still doubted the determination of Walgreens’ top managers to shake the company to its foundation, recharge its merchandising mix and rejuvenate customer traffic and interest, the pending departure of David Van Howe should resolve any lingering doubts. Walgreens is serious about doing business in a new way.
Van Howe was one of the last of the remaining merchants whose drive and creativity guided the company’s traditional front-end strategy and product presentation. He had emerged as one of Walgreens’ top merchandising gurus by 2007, when he was promoted to VP purchasing reporting to George Riedl, formerly EVP marketing and merchandising.
Both men exemplified the talented “old guard” that drove Walgreens’ long-successful approach to merchandising and buying, and both of them — along with many of the other product category managers whose activities they oversaw — have either left the company or, in Van Howe’s case, soon will. Riedl, the architect of many of the front-store retail concepts that drove Walgreens’ customer appeal and retail image since the 1990s, is already gone after a brief stint as head of pharmacy “innovation” and purchasing. Van Howe, who helped shape those concepts and put them into practice over the past nine years, will exit at the end of the year.
In their place is a new breed of relatively youthful merchants and consumer marketing experts. Those newcomers — including Walmart and Tesco veteran Bryan Pugh as Walgreens’ personable and hard-driving top merchant, and Kim Feil, who forged a 26-year career with Sara Lee, Kimberly-Clark and market research powerhouse IRI before joining Walgreens as its first chief marketing officer — bring a set of world-class portfolios and a fresh perspective to the 7,000-store drug chain.
In an interview earlier this year, Pugh outlined the company’s revitalization strategy under the customer centric retailing initiative. The goal, he told Drug Store News, is “trying to leverage [our suppliers’] resources and expertise in understanding how the customers shop, and utilize that in the…planograms and adjacencies” at the front end. To that end, he said, “Every three-foot section is worked tediously hard to get the best possible result.”
In a separate interview, Walgreens president and CEO Greg Wasson described CCR as a process of “streamlining assortments and reworking promotions,” as well as “prioritizing categories and items within categories.”
Walgreens’ sweeping transformation process is likely to continue for some time, and the personnel shift in middle- and upper management may not be over. But Van Howe, like Riedl, can rightfully lay claim to a place of honor among the storied retailer’s distinguished alumni. Both men played a major role in the company’s remarkable success as the nation’s most profitable drug store chain, and both helped lay the groundwork for the renewal effort and merchandising overhaul now underway.
Hy-Vee thinks pink with donation to breast cancer awareness
WEST DES MOINES, Iowa A Midwestern retail chain has marked National Breast Cancer Awareness Month with a donation to fight the disease.
Hy-Vee announced that it had donated $135,000 to Susan G. Komen for the Cure at the end of the organization’s Komen Des Moines Race for the Cure, which took place in Des Moines, Iowa, on Oct. 24. The chain will also donate $25,000 to the National Breast Cancer Foundation on Nov. 22 at halftime during the game between the Kansas City Chiefs and the Pittsburgh Steelers. Hy-Vee is title sponsor of the Chiefs’ Breast Cancer Awareness Campaign.
“Our stores went all out this year for the fight against breast cancer,” Hy-Vee assistant VP media relations Ruth Comer said in a statement. “It’s an issue that affects many of our employees and customers on a very personal level, and that personal connection was evident in many of the displays created and events held throughout the month.”
The donations come from proceeds from a special pink-themed advertisement and the sale of pink Hy-Vee reusable shopping bags featuring a breast cancer message. The chain’s 227 stores in eight states sponsored a series of events throughout October to mark Breast Cancer Awareness Month, including sale of pink “Cookies for Komen” sold at Des Moines stores and participation of store employees in the Race for the Cure, for which Hy-Vee stores donated fruit and worked with General Mills to supply Yoplait yogurt.