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Same-stores Q1 sales up 6.3% across Shoppers Drug Mart

BY Michael Johnsen
BRAMPTON, Ontario – Loblaw Companies on Wednesday posted $8.1 billion, an increase of 3.3%, for its first quarter ended March 26, 2016. Retail segment sales were $7.9 billion. 
 
Drug retail (Shoppers Drug Mart) same-store sales growth was 6.3%, with same-store pharmacy sales increasing by 4.2% and same-store front store sales increasing by 8.2%. The timing of Easter had a positive impact on front store same-store sales of approximately 1.9%.
 
"We continued to execute against our financial plan in the first quarter of 2016, achieving positive same-stores sales, stable gross margins and higher operating earnings," said Galen Weston, executive chairman and president, Loblaw Companies. "Positive same-store sales reflected very strong performance in Drug Retail and slightly disappointing results in Food Retail. Looking ahead, we are confident that our continued focus on earnings growth along with the strength of our company's balance sheet, will enable us to fund growth initiatives and return capital to shareholders, amidst a highly competitive retail environment and the continued pressure of healthcare reform."
 
Net earnings available to common shareholders of the company were $150.3 million, an increase of 32.2% as compared to the first quarter of 2015. 
 
 
 
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American Cancer Society, CVS Health embark on 3-year, $3.6 million initiative to create smoke-free campuses

BY Michael Johnsen
ATLANTA – The American Cancer Society and CVS Health on Wednesday announced a three-year, $3.6 million initiative to provide grants to 125 institutions of higher learning to help accelerate and expand the number of 100% smoke- and tobacco-free college and university campuses throughout the United States. 
 
"The American Cancer Society and CVS Health are targeting an important age group at a critical time to improve public health for generations to come," stated Howard Koh, former Assistant Secretary for Health for the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and current professor of the Practice of Public Health Leadership, Director of the Leading Change Studio at the Harvard School of Public Health. "It is a great example of how public-private partnerships can aggressively move one step closer to a tobacco-free generation."
 
The partnership creates the Tobacco-Free Generation Campus Initiative, part of a nationwide effort to deliver the nation's first tobacco-free generation. With funding from the CVS Health Foundation, ACS will award grants to colleges and universities in 19 states with the greatest need for stronger smoke-free campus policies to help them take a comprehensive approach to implement tobacco-free campus policies, including cessation, education and support.
 
Twenty-five grants will be awarded in the first year and 50 will be given out in each of the second and third years. 
 
The 19 states targeted by the program are Alabama, Arizona, California, Connecticut, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Louisiana, Massachusetts, Michigan, New Jersey, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas and West Virginia.
 
The ACS initiative is part of Be The First, CVS Health's newly announced five-year, $50 million campaign that uses education, advocacy, tobacco control, and healthy behavior programming to tackle tobacco use, the number one cause of preventable deaths in the United States, and deliver the first tobacco-free generation. In 2014, CVS Health became the first national pharmacy chain to eliminate the sale of cigarettes and tobacco products from its stores.
 
"This partnership with CVS Health allows us to help make campuses tobacco-free using proven strategies that will reduce smoking and tobacco use rates among this population," said Cliff Douglas, VP tobacco control and head of the American Cancer Society's Center for Tobacco Control. "Creating a tobacco-free generation is a lofty goal, and reaching it requires a broad spectrum of strategies targeting multiple audiences. To be successful, it is imperative to prevent and stop smoking among college students."
 
Research has shown smoke-free policies curb campus smoking. Indiana University became a tobacco-free campus in 2008 and reduced smoking prevalence from 16.5% in 2007 to 12.8% in 2009. University of Michigan became tobacco-free in 2011, and after 11 months, the smoking rate dropped from 6% to 4%.
 
"Creating smoke-free campuses will move us one step closer to delivering the first tobacco-free generation," said Eileen Howard Boone, SVP corporate social responsibility and philanthropy for CVS Health, and president of the CVS Health Foundation. "Together with ACS, we can help ensure college-age youth stay tobacco-free through campus policies, increased education and awareness of healthy behaviors. We are at a critical moment in our nation's efforts to end the epidemic of tobacco use, and it is through partnerships like this one that we will be successful."
 
 
 
 
 
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Walgreens, APhA partner on substance abuse education program

BY Michael Johnsen
WASHINGTON – Walgreens and the American Pharmacists Association on Tuesday announced a collaboration that expands Walgreens efforts to fight prescription drug abuse. Through this collaboration, the APhA Institute on Alcoholism and Drug Dependencies will continue to offer a substance abuse education program for pharmacists and student pharmacists.
 
“As a pharmacy, we are committed to playing a role in what must be a comprehensive solution to prevent addiction and prescription drug abuse throughout the country," stated Richard Ashworth, Walgreens president pharmacy and retail operations. "Our work with APhA, together with Walgreens programs that specifically target opioid abuse, will go a long way to help address the epidemics of prescription drug misuse and heroin overdoses.”
 
The collaboration with APhA is the latest step Walgreens is taking to fight prescription drug abuse. In February, Walgreens announced it will install safe medication disposal kiosks in more than 500 drug stores around the country in the first ongoing national effort of its kind by a retailer. The kiosks will make the disposal of medications — including opioids and other controlled substances — easier and more convenient while helping to reduce the misuse of medications and the rise in overdose deaths. 
 
At the same time, Walgreens also announced it will make naloxone available without a prescription in 35 states and Washington D.C. in accordance with each state’s pharmacy regulations. Both initiatives are rolling out state-by-state throughout this year.
 
The four-day educational program will be conducted in Salt Lake City, Utah (June 3-6, 2016) and will provide vital information and resources on the disease of addiction.
 
 
 
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