Rite Aid arms patients to help fight worst flu season in decade
In response to a flu season that health experts are calling one of the most severe in the past decade, Rite Aid is making sure its pharmacies are stocked with flu shots. The effort comes as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported on Friday the highest rate of influenza-like illnesses since 2009 and the highest flu hospitalization rate since 2010, when the agency began keeping such records.
The CDC also reported that between Jan. 28-Feb. 3, 2018, flu and pneumonia accounted for 10% of deaths in the country.
“With the CDC reporting that we’ve not yet reached the peak of flu season and the potential for flu activity for several more weeks, we’re following the situation closely and making every effort to have flu shots available in all of our pharmacies,” Jocelyn Konrad, Rite Aid executive vice president of pharmacy, said. “We encourage anyone who hasn’t yet received a flu shot to get one today and protect themselves and those around them for the duration of the flu season.”
Flu shots are currently available at all Rite Aid pharmacies and are covered by most insurance plans with $0 co-pay, including Medicare Part B. Rite Aid certified immunizing pharmacists are able to administer flu shots, subject to state regulations, during pharmacy hours; no appointment is necessary.
Since pneumonia can be a serious and sometimes deadly complication of the flu, especially for older adults, the CDC also recommends the pneumococcal vaccine for those 65 and over. Rite Aid pharmacies also have supplies of pneumococcal shots, which can be administered at the same time as the flu shot, subject to state regulations. Like flu shots, pneumococcal shots are covered by many insurance plans and most customers with Medicare Part B will have $0 co-pay.
Rite Aid pharmacies also have supplies of the prescription medications Tamiflu and Relenza for those patients whose doctor has prescribed one of these medications. If necessary, Rite Aid pharmacists are trained to be able to compound Tamiflu for pediatric patients.
In addition, Rite Aid pharmacists are available to counsel customers on over-the-counter medicines, like pain relievers, cough and cold medicines and hydration products that can be used to help manage symptoms associated with the flu. To help prevent the spread of the flu, Rite Aid store shelves are also stocked with additional supplies of hand sanitizer and soaps, masks, gloves, tissues and household disinfectants.
Walmart reportedly pushing for higher online price points
A discount giant may be moving away from offering the lowest prices online.
Walmart is asking vendors to supply it with more merchandise priced at $10 and up. This is part of a major push to finally turn a profit at its online business, according to Reuters.
Sources told Reuters that Walmart is especially focused on dry grocery products, such as sauces, soaps and general merchandise items, including toys and home furnishings. Walmart’s goal is to see higher profit margins selling these more expensive items, given the built-in cost of delivering goods purchased online.
By offering the lowest prices online on every item, Walmart is incurring a shipping cost of $4 or $5. “It is not sustainable, and more importantly their shareholders won’t allow it,” one source said in the report.
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North of the border, Rexall now stocks naloxone in all pharmacies
Rexall Drugstore on Thursday announced that its pharmacies are now stocked with naloxone kits available in each of its 446 store locations in Canada. Patients do not need a prescription to get a naloxone kit.
In addition, Rexall’s pharmacists have received enhanced training that will enable them to educate patients, family members or friends on the risks associated with opioids and assist in assessing and responding to potential overdose using naloxone. Since December, there has been a 150% increase in the number of naloxone kits that have been dispensed by Rexall pharmacists
“Accidental opioid overdoses can happen to anyone, any time. At a time when deaths due to accidental opioid overdoses continues to rise in all provinces, Rexall has significantly increased access to a life-saving treatment by making Naloxone kits more available at every one of our stores in Canada,” Beth Newlands Campbell, president, Rexall, said. “Naloxone kits are not just for recreational drug users. There are thousands of Canadians that currently have an opioid prescription and are taking their medication appropriately. Unfortunately, they too are at risk of an accidental overdose and should have a kit on-hand.”
Rexall pharmacists are playing a more integrated role in the delivery of primary care services, and are an influential membera patient’s health care team. With the enhanced level of training Rexall pharmacists have received, they are better prepared to provide counselling to patients on the appropriate use of opioids and other controlled substances.
“Our pharmacists are an important and reliable source of information and they can talk to patients, family members or friends not just about the dangers around opioids, but also provide instructions and training on how to properly use a naloxone kit,” Newlands Campbell, said.