Walgreens helping to transform retail pharmacy almost on a daily basis
Walgreens reached a 19.1% prescription market share for its fiscal year ended Aug. 31. But that wasn’t the story to come out of the Chicagoland retailer’s conference call. The story was how far along Walgreens has come in its pledge to transform pharmacy.
Truth is, there isn’t one aspect of the pharmacy business that hasn’t been touched by Walgreens’ focus on transformation. And with the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act yet to come in 2014, Walgreens is far from done. See for yourself: click on DSN‘s Walgreens news feed — all Walgreens news, all the time — and you have one story after another about how Walgreens is helping to redefine what retail pharmacy means to employers, payers and most importantly, the patient, almost on a daily basis.
Just earlier this week, Walgreens president, CEO and "chief roadblock remover" Greg Wasson joined Sona Chawla at the Shop.org Annual Summit 2013 to talk about how Walgreens has created a culture that embraces technology to the point that it permeates everything they do. During the hour-long presentation, Wasson shared that it was a discipline shared among the senior echelons of management to incorporate an e-retailing element into every facet of the chain’s business.
Also earlier this week, Walgreens partnered with GoHealth to provide a resource for those patients looking to explore the new health insurance marketplace. It’s more than just a value add for those patients who patronize Walgreens’ stores. Walgreens has become health-and-wellness resource-rich; with their teams of pharmacists, nurse practitioners and health guides, if Walgreens can’t answer a health-and-wellness question, there very likely isn’t an answer to be had.
Walgreens’ health-and-wellness reach even extends beyond the typical retail pharmacy and into specialty pharmacy. On Monday, Walgreens issued a report on the positive impact the company’s infusion pharmacists can have on patient care.
Walgreens is a company worth watching often, because if a conceivable health-and-wellness offering isn’t being offered by the chain today, they’re very likely to announce that new service tomorrow. And you can find all here at DrugStoreNews.com.
Retail pharmacy can ‘strut its stuff’ as ACA, insurance exchange information source
The National Association of Chain Drug Stores is taking to the airwaves to emphasize the role its members play in disseminating information about the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act and the health insurance exchanges, which officially opened on Tuesday. NACDS president and CEO Steve Anderson appeared on Bloomberg TV’s "Surveillance" Tuesday morning to talk about what pharmacies are doing for healthcare delivery.
The NACDS and National Community Pharmacists Association have long touted retail pharmacies as the most accessible centers for health and wellness, and pharmacists as the face of neighborhood health care. That role is especially important given widespread ignorance among the public about the Affordable Care Act and the exchanges.
On Sept. 30, the day before the insurance exchanges opened, kiosk maker SoloHealth announced the results of a 13,600-person survey showing that 64% of consumers have "no" or "a little bit" of knowledge about them. On Tuesday, SoloHealth announced a partnership with eHealthInsurance to help expand consumer awareness and enrollment in individual, family and Medicare health insurance plans.
And as Anderson told Bloomberg, pharmacy retailers large and small are doing their part as well and have busied themselves all week with outreach programs.
On Tuesday, Meijer said it would work with Michigan-based health plan Priority Health to raise awareness about exchanges, as well as distributing informational brochures at its 203 stores in the Midwest and Kentucky.
On Wednesday, Miami-based Navarro Discount Pharmacy said it would make representatives from healthcare companies available at its stores to explain insurance options, as well as sponsoring Univision’s "Salud es Vida" event at the Miami-Dade County Fair and Expo.
On Thursday, Walgreens announced a partnership with GoHealth, directing customers to the GoHealth Marketplace, a resource where they can shop and compare health insurance plans, as well as providing brochures and other materials at stores.
On Friday, CVS/pharmacy announced a partnership with Humana, whereby representatives from the health insurer will be available at CVS’ Project Health events starting this month. Humana also will sponsor in-store events at CVS locations.
And last month, at an event in Hoboken, N.J., that included secretary of health and human services Kathleen Sebelius and Democratic Sen. Bob Menendez, Rite Aid chairman and CEO John Standley announced a plan to place insurance agents at stores around the country to educate customers about Obamacare and help them enroll in plans.
It’s no secret that retail pharmacy has a growing role in the healthcare system, as evidenced by California Gov. Jerry Brown’s signing this week of a law that expands pharmacists’ scope of practice in the state, as well as Anderson’s touting of pharmacy services like immunizations and medication therapy management in his Bloomberg TV appearance.
Much as it did through immunizations during the H1N1 swine flu pandemic, retail pharmacy now has another chance to strut its stuff and show the country just how useful a resource it can be.
Big week in exec moves as Rexall, McKesson tap industry vets
It was a big week for executive promotions, particularly the appointment of Mary Kelly as EVP and chief merchandising officer at Rexall Pharma Plus and Chris Dimos, who has joined McKesson as SVP corporate strategy and business development.
There’s no doubt that these two industry leaders bring much to the table in their new roles.
As Rexall Pharma Plus CEO Frank Scorpiniti said in making the announcement, Kelly brings a wealth of experience in the drug retail industry. For more than 26 years she led business teams in Canada and the United States and, most recently, served as EVP merchandising and category management at Canada’s Shoppers Drug Mart. She also brings to Rexall Pharma Plus the merchandising and pharmacy expertise she garnered during her 17 years at Target, as well as her experience at Revco Drug Stores and Eli Lilly.
Dimos also made headlines with his new role at McKesson. He comes to McKesson from Supervalu, where he was president of pharmacy operations. And before Supervalu, he served as VP pharmacy services with Albertsons. One of the brightest and most talented pharmacy executives in the business, Dimos is known not only for his pharmacy operations prowess, but also for his work in helping to bridge the gap between pharmacy and the front-end through health-and-wellness initiatives.
For example, when Dimos was at Supervalu he discussed how the grocer was conducting healthy eating tours, encompassing a number of such targeted conditions as diabetes and heart health. He also noted how the retailer had made significant progress in developing comprehensive clinical programs and services, such as fielding more than 2,100 immunizing pharmacists and developing comprehensive and reimbursable MTM programs. Clearly, his perspectives will benefit McKesson in its business development initiatives.
Yes, it was indeed a big week for executive promotions and industry observers will be watching as each of these industry vets settle into their new roles. DSN exclusively broke these stories — another reminder that you need to be wired in to DrugStoreNews.com for all the latest news that impacts your business.