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Study says chickenpox vaccine not linked to stroke in children

BY Alaric DeArment

NEW YORK A vaccine against chickenpox does not increase the risk of stroke in children, according to a recent study.

The study, published in the journal Pediatrics, analyzed data from 3.2 million children from between 1991 and 2004 in the Vaccine Safety DataLink. Of those children, a little more than 35 percent had received the varicella vaccine. 

Nevertheless, 203 children had experienced stroke and 243 experienced brain inflammation, but eight experienced stroke within a year of receiving the vaccination, and nobody had had brain inflammation within 30 days of vaccination. 

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NACDS focuses on marketing for annual Successful Selling & Walgreens New Vendor Days

BY Antoinette Alexander

WHEELING, Ill. As the economic crunch takes its toll on the nation’s consumers and businesses — including mass market retailers — the National Association of Chain Drug Stores is taking a back to basics approach at the upcoming NACDS Successful Selling Walgreens New Vendor Days.

This year’s event, which will be held Feb. 16 to 18 at the Westin Chicago North Shore in Wheeling, Ill., is in its third year, but it is the second year that the association has partnered with Walgreens. The first such conference, held in March 2006, was then dubbed Successful Selling to Drug, Food and Mass Retailing.

 

While many of the components will be the same as last year’s event — which was sold out and attracted just over 400 people, including nearly 200 vendors, more than 60 brokers and sales and marketing companies and about 40 Walgreens executives — attendees can expect to see at least a few changes this year.

“I think what this economy does is it [makes] all of what we are talking about that much more important than maybe it was a year ago,” said.

Fitz Elder, NACDS chief member relations officer. “There was some opportunity to be not quite as sharp, but [today] you need to be as sharp as you possibly can, so the focus is on fundamentals and getting a few things very, very right and doing what you do very, very well and making sure you are getting paid for every dollar you are putting out.”

Elder noted this year’s event also looks to be a sold out, but there are still some slots available for additional brokers and sales and marketing consultants.

It has been estimated that each year more than 30,000 new items are introduced into the packaged goods world. But the reality is that many of these items do not achieve success due to a lack of understanding of the commercialization process. A manufacturer may come up with a great product, but if they aren’t prepared and don’t have a sufficient marketing plan in place it is likely to never see the shelf. Further complicating matters is the current economic turmoil that has placed even greater financial constraints on manufacturers and retailers alike.

In light of this, Elder said the two major focuses at this year’s event hinge upon the basics of going to market at mass and examples of success.

“We want to be able to show concretely to these people what some of those elements of success are,” said Elder. “At one point we are going to look at a planogram and identify niche products that won their way onto shelf and talk about what enabled those products to win.”

Also, unlike last year when one day was flagged as an NACDS day and centered on the general components of going to market and the second day centered namely on Walgreens and its expectations, this year’s event will see a marrying of the two. In other words, the four core educational presentations will be co-presented with a Walgreens executive.

“We felt that there was such a tremendous body of information given that it was somewhat confusing to people when you broke it apart and they had to refer to their notes from yesterday while they were listening to Walgreens today to get the linkage. We thought that [marrying the two] would be helpful,” added Elder.

Another new component is a breakout session that will be held at the end of the day on Feb. 17. These sessions will enable attendees to candidly discuss the day’s learning programs in a more private setting.

In addition to once again being able to meet with Walgreens category managers in 20-minute power sessions, as was the case last year, vendors will also be able to attend a “Next Steps Follow-Up with Walgreens.” This new addition is comprised of six tables, manned by a Walgreens executive, that focus on item/vendor, replenishment, accounting, Catalina, SupplierNet and advertising.

Another important component, said Elder, is the opportunity for all vendors to meet with executives at Walgreens.com to discuss e-commerce opportunities. The Web is important because it has enabled some vendors — especially smaller players — to test their product or concept and has proved to be a great first step in going to market.

“We are trying to help these companies be successful at bringing product to market. As great as Marketplace is, if you really aren’t properly prepared it is hard to make Marketplace as successful for you as most would like so we needed to find some opportunities to help train people and develop blocks of education that we could use throughout the year,” said Elder, who noted that roughly two-thirds of NACDS members are small to mid-size companies doing less than $50 million a year. “So we do Successful Selling as a stand-alone conference to help small and medium-sized companies understand how to come to market at food, drug and mass. We also retrain it at Marketplace on a more limited basis during the morning sessions at that conference.”

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Medicare awards doctors for moving to e-prescribing

BY Alaric DeArment

NEW YORK This month, Medicare began giving doctors extra money for moving from paper prescribing to e-prescribing.

The private sector has moved to encourage doctors to adopt e-prescribing as well, including health plans and companies that make e-prescribing technology. Today, about 70,000 independent physicians prescribe over the Internet.

E-prescribing is already standard in many countries, but adoption of the practice has lagged in the United States, partially because oflaws that require paper-based prescribing of some drugs such as narcotics.

Studies have shown that e-prescribing can reduce costs and prescription errors.

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