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USA Drug founder Stephen LaFrance Sr. to enter Arkansas Business Hall of Fame

BY Michael Johnsen

 

FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. — USA Drug founder Stephen LaFrance Sr. on Thursday was posthumously nominated into the Arkansas Business Hall of Fame by the Sam M. Walton College of Business at the University of Arkansas and the Arkansas Business Hall of Fame Board. 
 
From a single drug store, LaFrance built a chain of retail drug stores headquartered in Pine Bluff covering nine states and more than 150 locations with more than $750 million in annual sales; a wholly owned wholesale drug distribution operation regularly serving more than 1,200 customers in 14 states in addition to USA Drug’s own retail drug stores; a real estate portfolio with strategically located retail properties; and an Arkansas organization supporting more than 3,500 employees and their families.
 
"During his lifetime, LaFrance preferred his philanthropic efforts to be anonymous. The Salvation Army, the Susan G. Komen Foundation, the Arkansas Children’s Hospital and work on diabetes at the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences were just some of the projects that enjoyed his support," the Arkansas Business Hall of Fame Board noted.
 
LaFrance, along with three other Arkansas business leaders, will be inducted on Feb. 13, the board reported. 
 
“We are pleased to welcome another distinguished group of business leaders to the Arkansas Business Hall of Fame,” stated Dean Eli Jones, dean Walton College. “They join an exceptional list of inductees who have been recognized among the best in Arkansas business. The outstanding achievements of these four, just as all of the hall of fame’s current members, will have an impact on the future business leaders in Arkansas and around the world.”
 
The Arkansas Business Hall of Fame induction ceremony will be held at the Statehouse Convention Center in Little Rock. The Arkansas Business Hall of Fame is permanently housed in the atrium of the Donald W. Reynolds Center for Enterprise Development at the Walton College on the University of Arkansas campus in Fayetteville.
 
Greg Lee, a Walton College alumnus and the retired chief administrative officer and international president of Tyson Foods, chaired the selection process. A nominating committee of 18 business leaders encouraged people throughout the state and beyond to make nominations. A selection committee of nine business and community leaders reviewed the nominations and chose the inductees. Criteria for selection included: the significance of the impact made as a business leader, the concern demonstrated for improving the community and the display of ethics in all business dealings. In addition, living inductees must be over the age of 60.
 
A list of previous inductees into the Arkansas Business Hall of Fame is available at WaltonCollege.uark.edu/abhf.
 

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Fred’s Super Dollar posts sales gains of 3.3% for September

BY Michael Johnsen

MEMPHIS, Tenn. — Fred's Super Dollar on Wednesday reported sales of $183.6 million for the five weeks ended Oct. 4, representing an increase of 3.3% as compared with the year-ago period. Comparable store sales for the month increased 0.2% on top of an increase of 2.8% in the same period last year.
 
Fred's total sales for the year-to-date period increased 1.5% to $1.3 billion. On a comparable store basis, year-to-date sales decreased 0.5% versus an increase of 0.8% for the year-earlier period.
 
"Our September comparable store sales continued the positive trend we have experienced in recent months in spite of the strong sales performance posted in the same month last year," stated Bruce Efird, Fred's CEO. "Our initiatives to emphasize our convenience-center model continue to gain traction throughout the business. Driving customer traffic remains a challenge in our markets, but the implementation of these initiatives is clearly beginning to produce positive results," he said. "General merchandise inventory has been significantly lowered and our clearance programs to address unproductive inventory, once again, exceeded the sales plan for September."
 
Pharmacy was another highlight for the month, Efird added, with increases in both comparable prescriptions filled and sales. "We are very excited to have our new pharmacy prime vendor agreement in place, which will not only accelerate gross margin improvement in the pharmacy department, but will also support our pharmacy expansion initiatives," he said. 
 
During the month, Fred’s closed five full service stores and one Xpress location. Fred's operates 701 discount general merchandise stores, including 21 franchised Fred's stores, in the southeastern United States. 
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APhA: Pharmacists are ready to help as infectious disease outbreaks sweep the nation

BY Antoinette Alexander

 

WASHINGTON — At a time when nearly every media outlet is covering Ebola, Enterovirus D-68, or a new outbreak of an infectious disease, the American Pharmacists Association is reminding Americans that the nation’s pharmacists are ready to help.

Whether it's getting your annual immunizations, learning proper hand washing technique or ask questions about the cold you've had for a few weeks, pharmacist are a great source of current public health information. When emerging public health issues arise, such as Ebola, Enterovirus D-68, influenza and other transmittable diseases, pharmacists help provide public health information and public assurance.

"As health care providers, pharmacists provide unique access to their patients, and have an important role to play in public health," stated APhA CEO, Thomas Menighan. "Over 270 million Americans visit a pharmacy every week, making pharmacists an accessible healthcare provider to help patients assess their particular health situation. The current public health concern is a lesson for all health care providers, including pharmacists, who may be the first to encounter a patient with symptoms that are consistent with a particular infectious disease. Asking the right questions provide the pharmacist with the opportunity to counsel and refer patients to appropriate care.

Pharmacists are a critical point of access to health care, especially in medically underserved areas," continued Menighan. "As public anxiety about Ebola and other infectious diseases rise in the United States, pharmacists will be both vigilant and reassuring as we continue to serve the public health needs of our communities."

APhA has informed its members of the CDC Guidelines for many infectious diseases, including two of major public health concern:

Ebola
The CDC has said health care providers should take a travel history from any person who has symptoms of viral infection and should consider the Ebola Virus Disease in patients with a fever greater than 101.5° Fahrenheit, severe headache, muscle pain, diarrhea, vomiting, stomach pain, or unexplained bruising or bleeding 21 days after traveling from Guinea, Liberia, Nigeria, or Sierra Leone. Health care providers should immediately take infection control precautions and contact their state or local health department if they have questions.

Enterovirus D-68
Patients should be encouraged to wash hands often with soap and water for 20 seconds; avoid touching eyes, nose and mouth with unwashed hands; avoid close contact such as kissing, hugging, and sharing cups or eating utensils with people who are sick, or when you are sick; cover your coughs and sneezes with a tissue or shirt sleeve, not your hands; clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces, such as toys and doorknobs, especially if someone is sick; and stay home when you are sick.  There are no vaccines for preventing EV-D68 infections. Children with asthma are at risk for severe symptoms from EV-D68 and other respiratory illnesses.

They should follow CDC's guidance to maintain control of their illness during this time:

  • Discuss and update your asthma action plan with your care providers;
  • Take your prescribed asthma medications as directed, especially long-term control medication(s);
  • Be sure to keep your reliever medication with you;
  • Get a flu vaccine when available;
  • If you develop new or worsening asthma symptoms, follow the steps of your asthma action plan. If your symptoms do not go away, call your doctor right away; and
  • Parents should make sure the child's caregiver and/or teacher is aware of his/her condition, and that they know how to help if the child experiences any symptoms related to asthma.

Pharmacists work in conjunction with physicians and other health care providers to optimize care, improve medication use and to prevent disease. To achieve the best outcomes for their condition, patients should maintain regular visits with all of their health care providers. APhA encourages patients to fill all their prescriptions with one pharmacy, get to know their pharmacist on a first name basis, discuss their medications with their pharmacist, carry an up-to-date medication and vaccination list and share all medical information with each of their health care providers. In addition, follow good cough and sneeze hygiene (i.e. sneeze or cough into your elbow), wash your hands, and stay home from school or work if you have cold or flu-like symptoms.
 

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