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Walgreens to discuss new health, wellness format at Chicago Ideas Week

BY Michael Johnsen

DEERFIELD, Ill. — As part of the 2011 Chicago Ideas Week, Walgreens executive director of pharmacy and healthcare experience Nimesh Jhaveri will discuss on Tuesday the company’s work toward transforming its retail stores into a destination for health and daily living.

Jhaveri is scheduled to participate in the "Designing an Experience" panel as part of the "Fast Company: Creativity Session," where leaders from a variety of disciplines will explore the importance of creativity and innovation in business. The event will be held at the Museum of Contemporary Art in Chicago at 5 p.m. EST.

Recently, as part of a pilot program, Walgreens revamped approximately 20 of its stores in the Chicago area, along with its stores in the Indianapolis market, to meet the changing needs of customers and offer them an improved experience.

"Walgreens has a long-standing history of innovation, and with this pilot initiative we’ve aimed to evolve the traditional pharmacy and retail store format to meet the needs of our customers who are more involved than ever in managing their own care and are seeking cost-effective healthcare options delivered in a simple, customized way," Jhaveri said.

"When a customer walks into one of our new stores, we want them to have a very palpable feeling of wellness," Jhaveri added. "With this in mind, we have focused on improving the design, convenience and quality of our pharmacy services, more effectively utilizing the space in the store and fully leveraging the expertise of our highly trained pharmacy staff to help deliver an experience that reflects our capabilities and commitment to cost-effective health care."

In addition to Jhaveri’s participation on today’s panel, Walgreens also will host an iPad booth at the CIW Health and Wellness Talk on Oct. 16, which also will be located at the Museum of Contemporary Art.

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Price Chopper sponsors free flu shot clinics for Irene victims

BY Alaric DeArment

SCHENECTADY, N.Y. — Price Chopper is giving free flu vaccines to victims of Hurricane Irene, the supermarket chain said.

Price Chopper, which was the first supermarket pharmacy in New York to certify pharmacists to administer flu shots, is sponsoring free flu vaccination clinics at a local church in Schoharie, N.Y. The first clinic was on Saturday, and another will follow this coming Saturday. Participants also will receive free deli lunches. Other clinics will take place across the six states in which the chain operates, though the company did not give details.

"We recognize that our neighbors whose homes and businesses were ravaged by Irene have much rebuilding to do over the coming months, and with the flu season upcoming, we want to help ensure that they stay healthy in light of the challenges that lay ahead," Price Chopper public relations, consumer and marketing services manager Mona Golub said.

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CRN challenges JAMA study linking multivites and death

BY Michael Johnsen

WASHINGTON — The Council for Responsible Nutrition on Tuesday issued sharp criticism in response to the study, "Dietary Supplements and Mortality Rate in Older Women," published in the Archives of Internal Medicine, a publication of the American Medical Association.

The study listed a broad range of supplements — multivitamins, folic acid, iron and copper, among others — that appear to be associated with an increased risk of death in older women. The article is part of the journal’s "Less Is More" series.

Jaakko Mursu, a doctor associated with the University of Eastern Finland and the University of Minnesota, used data collected during the "Iowa Women’s Health Study" to examine the association between vitamin and mineral supplements and mortality rate among 38,772 older women (average age 61.6 years). Supplement use was self-reported in 1986, 1997 and 2004 via questionnaires.

Among the 38,772 women who started follow-up with the first survey in 1986, 15,594 deaths (40.2%) occurred over an average follow-up time of 19 years. After adjustment, use of multivitamins, vitamin B6, folic acid, iron, magnesium, zinc and copper, were all associated with increased risk of death in the study population. Conversely, calcium supplements appear to reduce risk of mortality. The association between supplement intake and mortality risk was strongest with iron, and the authors found a dose-response relationship as increased risk of mortality was seen at progressively lower doses as women aged throughout the study.

“Based on existing evidence, we see little justification for the general and widespread use of dietary supplements,” the authors concluded. “We recommend that they be used with strong medically based cause, such as symptomatic nutrient deficiency disease.”

"[That] basically means these researchers would rather wait till we all get scurvy before acknowledging any need for supplemental nutrients," countered Duffy MacKay, CRN VP scientific and regulatory affairs.

"It’s important to keep in mind that this is an associative — not a cause and effect — study," he said. "In fact, when the authors did their initial … analysis, it appears they actually found benefit for many of the supplements, not just calcium; yet instead of stopping there, they went on to ‘further adjust’ the data, possibly until they found statistics worthy of this publication’s acceptance," MacKay surmised. "The study may make for interesting scientific water cooler discussion, but certainly does not warrant sweeping, overstated concerns for elderly women."

CRN’s advice to consumers: "Your best chance for living a long and healthy life is to engage in healthy lifestyle practices, and many in the scientific community maintain that rational, reasonable use of vitamins and other supplements is part of that equation. Talk to your doctor, or other healthcare practitioner, if you have concerns — but read between the lines of individual studies and don’t make your decisions, either for or against supplements, based solely on hype."

 


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