PHARMACY

United Supermarkets to open first health care clinics in west Texas

BY Adam Kraemer

LUBBOCK, Texas United Supermarkets, a regional family-owned grocery chain with stores in 26 markets throughout north and west Texas is joining forces with Family Medicine Centers to offer a Living Well ExpressCare clinic in its Amarillo, Texas store beginning next month.

The clinic will offer primary medical services to store guests at United’s 45th and Bell location beginning Sept. 1. It will be located next to the pharmacy, allowing patients to get their prescriptions filled immediately at the same location.

United announced that similar facilities, the first in-store health clinics in west Texas, also are under construction in two United stores in Lubbock, as well as the new Market Street store being built in Frisco, near Dallas, according to the retailer.

“The need for accessible, affordable, high-quality health care in our country has never been greater, as studies indicate that nearly a third of the U.S. population does not have a family physician,” stated Mark Yowell, Specialty Division vice president of United Supermarkets. “[The clinics] “will allow us to focus attention on the wellness and nutrition products and services available in our stores.”

The facility will be open seven days a week, maintaining operating hours similar to those of the store’s pharmacy. It will be staffed by a licensed nurse practitioner or physician assistant under the supervision of a licensed physician.

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PHARMACY

September is officially National Ovarian Cancer Month

BY Adam Kraemer

MONTEBELLO, Quebec President George W. Bush announced Monday that September 2007 will officially be recognized as National Ovarian Cancer Month.

“In FY 2007, the National Institutes of Health will invest an estimated $102 million into ovarian cancer research through the National Cancer Institute and other institutes,” the President stated. “In addition, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention will dedicate nearly $5 million. We will continue to commit our resources to seek better ways to prevent, detect and ultimately cure ovarian cancer.”

“During National Ovarian Cancer Awareness Month, Americans remember those who have lost their lives to ovarian cancer, and we honor the courage and strength of those who continue to fight this disease,” he continued. “We also recognize the dedicated medical professionals and researchers whose tireless efforts help provide a brighter, healthier future for women.”

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Support for doctor-filled scripts: a warning sign for retail pharmacy?

BY Jim Frederick

ST. LOUIS In what could be either a worrisome sign of an increasingly fickle pharmacy consumer or a tempest in a teapot, researchers acting at the behest of a company that caters to physicians have found what they describe as widespread support for the idea of doctor-dispensed prescriptions.

Three out of four Americans in a nationwide poll appeared to support the concept of having their prescriptions filled by their doctors at the point of care, according to Purkinje, a health care technology and services company that partners with physicians. The poll, conducted by Opinion Research, found that a majority of consumers appear willing to try doctor-dispensed prescriptions rather than going to their neighborhood pharmacies.

The biggest factor is convenience, according to pollsters. “Overall preference for office-based medication dispensing appears to be driven by the prospect of saving time and improving quality of care,” noted a report on the study.

An overwhelming majority of respondents, 84 percent, said such a service would be more convenient, and 62 percent said it would help them better manage their health, according to researchers.

According to Purkinje, the findings suggest that “physicians are missing an opportunity to improve patient satisfaction and enhance revenue by not dispensing medicine in their office.” But the study’s results are troublesome for chain and independent pharmacies, which are already under assault from mail-order pharmacy, mandatory mail-order prescription plans and Medicaid reimbursement cuts, among other threats.

For pharmacy leaders, however, the findings might come with a few grains of salt. Purkinje describes itself as a specialist in providing physicians with computer-driven solutions to “save time, maximize income and provide optimal care for their patients.” Its products include software for practice management, electronic health records, billing and what it calls “medication fulfillment.”

Reacting to the report, Mary Ann Wagner, senior vice president of policy and regulatory affairs for the National Association of Chain Drug Stores, cited the drawbacks for any patient who cuts pharmacists out of the health care equation.

“Pharmacists not only dispense medications,” Wagner told Drug Store News. “They play a critical role in their patients’ health by monitoring potential drug interactions and allergies. If a patient is being treated by more than one health care provider, it would be more difficult to detect harmful drug interactions if the patient is receiving multiple medications from different doctors or pharmacies.”

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