PHARMACY

Wegmans teaches pharmacists, consumers how to eat, live well

BY Michael Johnsen

Wegmans Food Markets last summer introduced “Eat Well. Live Well.” stations located adjacent to its pharmacies that help showcase the links between health, wellness and a good diet.

“There’s so much good science showing that people lower their risk of many health problems when they make healthy food choices and include regular exercise in their routines,” stated Brian Pompo, coordinator of wellness and clinical services for pharmacy at Wegmans. “That’s why we’ve created our ‘Eat Well. Live Well.’ stations near the pharmacy.” The teaching areas have food displays with a health story to tell, and they change with the season.

In warm months, such freshly harvested foods as berries, melons and tomatoes may appear. In cold months, foods that help fight colds and flu, such as orange juice or soups, might be on display. In between seasons, displays might feature low-fat and fat-free dairy products or heart-healthy whole-grain breads and cereals.

Wegmans’ registered dietitians regularly meet with Pompo to review current scientific research about food, health and wellness, and to develop reference materials for pharmacists. “We look for well-established findings about the healthful properties of given foods or food groups,” Pompo said. “There may be a display featuring Wegmans products containing omega-3s. We provide pharmacists with the education piece.”

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Healthy living initiatives are made ‘Simple’ for Safeway shoppers

BY Antoinette Alexander

Over the past seven years, Safeway has demonstrated a list of accomplishments aimed at healthier living, including launching its O Organics line of USDA certified-organic foods, removing added trans-fats from all of its private-label products and launching Eating Right for Kids, a line that contains no high fructose corn syrup. Today, the effort shows little signs of slowing as the chain kicked off 2011 with two new initiatives: SimpleNutrition and Open Nature.

SimpleNutrition, unveiled in mid-February, is an at-shelf program designed to simplify and personalize the grocery shopping experience as consumers increasingly are inundated with conflicting nutrition information. Under SimpleNutrition, green shelf tags highlight up to 2-of-22 different nutrition and ingredient benefits, such as gluten-free, organic, sodium-smart or made with whole grains. In January, the company introduced the Open Nature line, comprised of more than 100 products made with 100%-natural ingredients from natural sources.

However, the health-and-wellness initiatives don’t end in the food aisles for the $14-billion supermarket pharmacy powerhouse. Safeway also has been an early adopter of pharmacy-based vaccination programs. Last year, its pharmacies were quick to respond to the whooping cough outbreak that swept through California, making Adacel, a booster vaccine, available at all Safeway, Vons and Pavilions pharmacies on a walk-in basis.

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Publix keeps pace with innovation

BY Mike Troy

Publix routinely makes strategic moves to enhance the customer experience in the pharmacy and health-and-wellness arena that are rooted in the customer service mindset that has made its supermarkets so popular.

Last fall the company introduced a new larger, triangular-shaped pill bottle that is designed to be easier to open. While the pill bottle redesign didn’t go as far as the award-winning program Target introduced a few years back, the move underscored the fact that Publix is a pharmacy innovator.

It is a company that seeks its own unique position in the marketplace while others follow the leader. When Walmart launched a $4 generic program roughly four years ago and others quickly followed suit, Publix charted a different course with a free antibiotic program.

Publix also made sure it kept pace with competitive trends so its pharmacies offer flu shots and various other health screenings throughout the year, and was an early adopter of retail clinics through an affiliation with the The Little Clinic, which was acquired by Kroger in February 2010. Today, the 40 clinics are operated
by Health Solera.

Last year, Publix launched the first phase of a multifaceted diabetes management program that included free metformin for Type 2 diabetes patients in addition to resources to help manage medications, compliance and monitoring.

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