PHARMACY

Sales rise, comps drop at Fred’s

BY Allison Cerra

MEMPHIS — Fred’s on Thursday said January sales rose 3% to $132.4 million, compared with the year-ago period.

Comparable-store sales for the retailer, however, declined 0.8%, compared with an increase of 2.1% in the same period last year.

"We were pleased to see strong customer traffic in January, together with increasing pharmacy script counts," Fred’s CEO Bruce Efird said. "We also witnessed a continued solid performance in pet and household supplies, two of our Core 5 departments. As in December, January sales were affected by unseasonably warm weather across our markets and the shifting of a month-end advertising circular."

During January, Fred’s opened six new stores and four pharmacies. There was one franchise store closing.

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CBO: Government health spending to hit $1.8 trillion

BY Allison Cerra

WASHINGTON — A projection issued by the Congressional Budget Office concluded that healthcare spending in the United States would reach a substantial high.

Citing the aging population and rising costs, CBO said spending on the government’s major mandatory healthcare programs, such as Medicare, Medicaid and the Children’s Health Insurance Program, will reach $1.8 trillion over the next decade. That spending is expected to represent 7.3% of GDP in 2022, an increase of nearly 2 percentage points from its share this year. CBO also said mandatory spending is projected to climb from 13.3% of GDP in 2013 to 14.3% in 2022.

"If that rising level of spending is coupled with revenues that are held close to the average share of GDP that they have represented for the past 40 years (rather than being allowed to increase, as under current law), the resulting deficits will increase federal debt to unsupportable levels," CBO said. "To prevent that outcome, policy-makers will have to substantially restrain the growth of spending for those programs, raise revenues above their historical share of GDP, or pursue some combination of those two approaches."

If current laws remain unchanged, the federal budget deficit is projected to be $1.1 trillion for fiscal year 2012.

Click here for the full report.


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Rx text alerts arrive from CVS/pharmacy

BY Allison Cerra

WOONSOCKET, R.I. — CVS/pharmacy has introduced a program that allows pharmacy patients to receive immediate notification via text message when their prescription is ready to be picked up, the drug store chain said.

Order Ready Text Messaging, which is available on nearly all mobile carriers, offers text alerts in English and Spanish. Customers interest in enrolling into Order Ready Text Messaging can do so by speaking to a pharmacy staff member or visiting CVS.com/text. Standard message rates apply.

The new offering complements the chain’s current mobile features, including the CVS/pharmacy mobile application, available for iPhone and Android phones, which has the ability to scan and order prescription refills to their local CVS/pharmacy (up to six prescriptions at once) by using the camera in their mobile devices and the CVS/pharmacy app.

"CVS/pharmacy’s new prescription Order Ready Text Messaging program allows for easy prescription pick-up by letting our patients know the moment the pharmacist has completed their order," CVS/pharmacy SVP and chief marketing officer Rob Price said. "The introduction of prescription text alerts is the latest addition to our enhanced mobile offering and is designed to make filling prescriptions at CVS/pharmacy even more convenient."


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