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Tough regulatory environ, competition capping Jean Coutu Group growth

BY Michael Johnsen

LONGUEIL, Québec  – The Jean Coutu Group on Wednesday posted $526.2 million in sales, up 1.8%, for the quarter ended Aug. 29. Overall same-store sales were up 2%, the Canadian retail pharamcy operator reported, with pharmacy comparable sales up 2.5% and front-end same-store sales up 0.4%. Sales of OTC remedies, which represented 8.2% of total retail sales, increased by 1.1%. 
 
“Throughout the second quarter, we have continued to implement our business plan efficiently, which helped us report an increased operating income in spite of a challenging regulatory context and a still highly competitive environment," stated François Coutu, president and CEO. “We remain committed to focus on dynamic strategies in order to meet our objectives and sustain our growth.” 
 
For the first half of fiscal year 2016, revenues amounted to $1.1 billion, representing an increase of 2.6% as compared to the year-ago period. This increase is attributable to the overall market growth and the expansion of the PJC network of franchised stores despite the deflationary impact on revenues of the volume increase in prescriptions of generic drugs compared with brand name drugs as well as the price reductions of generic drugs.
 
Over the first half same-store sales were up 2.9%, representing a pharmacy same-store sales increase of 3.3% and a same-store front-end lift of 1.6%. OTC sales represented 8.5% of total retail sales, up 2.8%. 
 
Generic drugs reached 70% of prescriptions during the second quarter of fiscal year 2016 compared with 68.1% of prescriptions for the comparable period of the previous fiscal year. For the second quarter of fiscal year 2016 the introduction of new generic drugs reduced pharmacy’s retail sales growth by 1.2% and price reductions of generic drugs reduced the growth of those sales by another 0.3%.
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CCA: Collaboration between retail clinics, health systems can improve care

BY David Salazar

PHILADELPHIA — The rise of retail clinics has changed the way that primary care providers interact with patients, and according to a new report from the Convenient Care Association, collaboration with retail clinics might also be an important avenue for hospitals and health systems to explore. The report argues that the combination of retail clinics and larger systems allows for expanded access, expanded service and higher quality care in both clinics and hospitals.

One of the largest strengths of retail clinics is their ability to be an entry point into the health care system for many Americans, as the report says more than 30% of people in the U.S. are a 10-minute drive away from a retail clinic and the care they can provide is on part with traditional settings like urgent care or emergency rooms. The CCA report also points to telehealth as an expanding way for patients without a primary care physician to get medical advice, and as a way for hospitals and health systems to reach more patients that might not otherwise be reached.

“For many patients, a retail clinic visit is their first contact with the complex healthcare system and as many as 60 percent of retail clinic patients do not have an established primary care provider,” the report says. “Through affiliations with the health systems, retail clinics can offer patients easier access to the affiliated health systems.” 

In addition to access expansion, retail clinics also have potential to act as the front lines against chronic disease. Indeed, the report points to the retail clinic’s ability to screen for and manage chronic diseases and the fact that shared electronic health records between clinics and their affiliated health systems can help patient adherence and overall outcomes. With chronic conditions, hospitals, clinics and health systems can also work together on clinical guidelines and protocols for managing them. With retail clinics undertaking the management of chronic disease, that frees hospital staff up to treat other, more complex issues.

Collaboration between clinics, hospitals and health systems can also help keep patients health following their hospital discharge, the report says. In particular, it can make access to post-discharge check-ups within 30 days less of an issue, which can in turn lower readmission rates. This makes for a relationship built on mutual interest in improving outcomes.

“We’re not in competition with The Little Clinic to grab a small piece of the medical pie. We are entered into a partnership because we believe in access to quality care,” Dr. Brian Bacak, the university of Colorado’s Dept. of Family Medicine associate vice chair for clinical affairs, said in the report. “Health and wellness is really important to everyone. The more access patients have to coordinate primary care, the better we are all.”

To read more insights from the report, click here

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Daily Diversion: Walgreens’ cat video

BY DSN STAFF

If there’s one thing the Internet loves, it’s cat videos, and Walgreens knows this and is using it to promote its Your Digital Health Advisor feature of Balance Rewards for healthy choices. In one of two videos posted to Walgreens’ YouTube account, a workout-averse cat realizes that working out doesn't have to be that bad. 

Click here to see another video starring cats and Your Digital Health Advisor. 

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