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Rx prominent in Weis’ ‘store of the future’

BY Michael Johnsen

SUNBURY, Pa. —Weis Markets in March announced the completion of the remodel and overhaul of its flagship Lewisburg store, located in the center of Pennsylvania. The remodel represents Weis’ latest store design and prototype, and features a redesigned pharmacy located immediately opposite the front entrance.

“We have freshened up the look and feel of our Lewisburg store by increasing the variety of products, adding new options, upgrading the decor and, most importantly, improving its layout and convenience for our customers. This is our store design of the future,” stated Jonathan Weis, Weis Markets vice chairman.

“One of the things we wanted to accomplish primarily was to obtain the bright, open architecture and…to make the pharmacist more accessible,” Jeff Maltese, VP pharmacy, told Drug Store News.

The new floor layout includes a dedicated consultation room, where Weis pharmacists will be able to consult with patients around their drug regimens. During the busy flu season, the room can be used to deliver influenza shots. “We’re making a lot of progress in medication therapy management and immunizations,” Maltese said, noting that Weis certainly is primed to take advantage of its immunizing pharmacists. Pennsylvania represents one of the more pharmacist-friendly states in terms of inoculation regulations, Maltese said.

Also prominently positioned in the redesigned pharmacy is Weis’ Healthy Bites initiative, which is designed to educate shoppers around “wellness news you can use.”

Placing Healthy Bites within the pharmacy area ought to augment the ready availability of a nearby pharmacist to answer any health-related queries, Maltese suggested. “The pharmacist is the focal point for disseminating that [health] information,” he said. “We do some in-store activities utilizing a dietician, but for the most part, there generally isn’t a dietician in every one of our stores. But there is a pharmacy in 120 of our 165 stores,” he said. “So our goal is to have the pharmacist be the focal point for some of the initiatives that the lifestyle initiatives team—[the Weis team behind the Healthy Bites initiative]—comes up with.”

In addition to the redesigned pharmacy, the new Weis prototype features a 30-seat café and coffee bar with an offering of espresso drinks and an increased selection of deli, produce and seafood products.

As part of the store’s grand reopening celebration March 14, Weis made more than $32,000 in local donations. “Our company is proud to support a deserving, locally based nonprofit movie theater, a community-based healthcare organization and a volunteer fire company in a town where we’ve operated for more than 90 years,” Weis said.

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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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