PHARMACY

Walgreens February sales up 5%, Q2 sales up 5.2%

BY Michael Johnsen

DEERFIELD, Ill. — Walgreens on Wednesday reported February sales of $6.1 billion, an increase of 5% compared with the same month in fiscal 2013. Total sales for the second quarter of fiscal 2014, which ended Feb. 28, were $19.6 billion, up 5.2%. 

February pharmacy sales increased by 6.7%, while comparable store pharmacy sales increased 6.1%. Comparable store pharmacy sales were negatively impacted by 1.4 percentage points due to generic drug introductions in the last 12 months, and were positively impacted by 0.1 percentage point due to more flu shots in February versus last year. The lower incidence of flu negatively impacted pharmacy sales by 0.7 percentage point. Pharmacy sales accounted for 62.9% of total sales for the month.

Prescriptions filled at comparable stores increased by 2.2% in February. Prescriptions filled at comparable stores were positively impacted by 0.1 percentage point due to more flu shots in the month versus last year but were negatively impacted by 1 percentage point due to the lower incidence of flu in February 2014.

Flu shots administered at pharmacies and clinics season to date were 7.7 million versus nearly 7 million last year.

Total front-end sales increased 3% compared with the same month in fiscal 2013, while comparable store front-end sales increased 2%. Customer traffic in comparable stores decreased 0.7% while basket size increased 2.7%.

Sales in comparable stores increased by 4.5% in February. Generic drug introductions in the last 12 months negatively impacted total comparable sales by 0.9 percentage point, while the lower incidence of flu negatively impacted total comparable sales by 0.4 percentage point.

Comparable store sales for the second quarter of fiscal 2014 increased 4.5%, while front-end comparable store sales for the quarter increased 2%. Prescriptions filled at comparable stores increased 2.4% in the second quarter and comparable pharmacy sales increased 6.1%.

Severe winter weather is estimated to have negatively impacted second quarter comparable store front-end sales by 0.6 percentage point and negatively impacted the quarter’s prescriptions filled at comparable stores by 0.8 percentage point. Additionally, the company incurred incremental selling, general and administrative expenses throughout the quarter from the severe weather.

Walgreens opened eight stores during February, including five relocations.

On Feb. 28, Walgreens operated 8,681 locations in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, Guam and the U.S. Virgin Islands. That includes 8,209 drugstores, 138 more than a year ago, including 60 net stores acquired over the last 12 months.

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Cardinal Health’s Women in Pharmacy initiative addresses pharmacy ownership at United Nations

BY Michael Johnsen

NEW YORK — Eden Sulzer, director of Cardinal Health’s Women in Pharmacy initiative, on Tuesday will discuss the unprecedented opportunity female pharmacists have to assume community pharmacy ownership roles during a panel discussion at the 2014 International Women’s Day Forum, taking place at the United Nations. 

The theme of year’s International Women’s Day Forum is "Turning Inspiration into Action: Next Steps for the Private Sector to Empower Women Globally." During a panel discussion entitled "The Sheconomy: The Power of the Female Consumer in a Growing Middle Class," Sulzer will discuss how she created Cardinal Health’s Women in Pharmacy initiative in 2011, with the goal of connecting the growing number of women pharmacists with resources, tools, education and support they need to seize the opportunity of independent pharmacy ownership.

Sulzer also will discuss how female community pharmacists are particularly well-positioned to serve as trusted, convenient, local healthcare resources for fellow women — who make 80% of healthcare purchasing decisions for their family and often serve as caregiver for their children, as well as aging parents.

Sulzer will shed light on key demographic and economic factors that are positioning women pharmacists as a powerful force in the reshaping of how healthcare is delivered at the community level. For example, women comprised less than 13% of all pharmacists in 1970 and comprise almost half of all pharmacists today. Additionally, because two-thirds of new pharmacy graduates are women and because most pharmacists nearing retirement are men, the proportion of pharmacists who are women will continue rising. By 2025, 2-out-of-3 pharmacists are likely to be women.

Sulzer also will share insight into current barriers to female pharmacy ownership, and what steps need to be taken to empower women pharmacists to buy and own their own pharmacies.

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Physicians Interactive, McKesson combine adherence support and patient cost savings into one tool

BY Michael Johnsen

READING, Mass. — Physicians Interactive, a provider of online and mobile clinical resources and solutions for healthcare professionals, and McKesson Patient Relationship Solutions, a provider of pharmaceutical manufacturer-sponsored patient adherence programs, on Tuesday announced a collaboration to jointly deliver Coupons on Demand. The new solution is designed to provide clinicians convenient access to medication cost-savings offers and adherence support through a patented web-based platform.  

"Most physicians don’t have the time to search the Internet to find all the available patient support programs — including prescription drug cost-savings offers — for their patients," said Derek Rago, VP/general manager for MPRS. "From a single destination, Coupons on Demand will provide physicians convenient, one-stop access to adherence support tools that are designed to enable better health outcomes for their patients. Further, understanding the challenges of today’s brand manager, the Coupons on Demand solution is an efficient and effective channel for brands to quickly extend and optimize their marketing reach to known physicians who frequently use this valuable channel to access manufacturer-sponsored patient support programs."  

"As pharmaceutical companies’ budgets are cut, sales teams are reduced and access to physicians becomes increasingly restricted, brands are finding it more challenging than ever to reach HCPs," stated Donato Tramuto, PI CEO and chairman. "Coupons on Demand addresses this challenge by allowing targeted, eligible HCPs to request cost-savings offers and adherence support for the prescription brands they prescribe, all from a single, convenient web-based source."

This Coupons on Demand collaboration expands on the PI-MPRS partnership previously announced to deliver the eCoupon automated voucher and coupon distribution within the e-prescriber point-of-care workflow.

The Coupons on Demand solution allows brands to extend co-pay voucher and coupon program reach and access through a network of more than 100,000 registered HCPs. The solution serves as a unique, multi-brand destination that HCPs are more likely to visit and revisit than single brand sites in order to view, order and print available coupons and vouchers — including offers from new brands as they become available. 

Patented technology allows brands to specify target HCPs they wish to reach and apply business rules in support of brand program goals.  

"Under the partnership agreement, the Coupons on Demand will feature integrated reporting to allow brands to access and monitor coupon and voucher ordering, distribution, HCP activity and offer utilization from a single reporting source. This means a brand manager will not only have real-time access to the number of coupons and vouchers ordered/printed and redeemed, but also will have access to such performance metrics as the number of days to first usage or overall patient persistency.

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