CVS Caremark to open Customer Care Center
NEW YORK Here’s a look at how the future of pharmacy is going to work …
The fact that CVS Caremark is preparing to open its first Pharmacy Customer Care Center is important because it appears as though the two biggest players in pharmacy — the other being Walgreens — are setting their sights on extracting much of the busy work out of the stores in an effort to free up the in-store pharmacy teams to perform more of the medication therapy management, disease management and other more high-touch services that will come to define pharmacy care in the future.
As explained by Larry Merlo, president of CVS/pharmacy, the Woonsocket, R.I.-based pharmacy retailer is opening the new facility and launching the new pharmacy service program to “enhance the service provided to individuals who call our pharmacies, as well as to provide more time for our pharmacy teams to spend serving customers in our stores.”
The move is in a similar vein to that of Walgreens’ “POWER” initiative. As previously reported by Drug Store News, POWER is aimed at offloading and centralizing some prescription dispensing duties in Walgreens’ pharmacies. The goal: to ease up pharmacists and workloads, reduce staffing costs and give its pharmacy professionals more time to consult with patients. The workload-balancing project offloads dispensing duties from individual Walgreens pharmacists to centralized processing centers. Company leaders predicted the project will free pharmacists and even pharmacy technicians from some of the mundane dispensing tasks so they can migrate to a broader role in patient oversight, clinical care and integrated health care alongside physicians, PBMs and corporate health plan sponsors.
As of late May, Walgreens’ POWER project had shifted script dispensing functions for more than half the company’s nearly 800 stores in Florida, and some 100 of its 238 stores in Arizona.
It is likely that this is just the tip of the iceberg and that the industry will see more of these types of programs and initiatives as retail pharmacy further digs its heels into the U.S. healthcare system and continues its evolution into a broad-reaching healthcare provider.
Survey finds majority of Americans anticipate H1N1 outbreak during upcoming flu season
BOSTON Approximately 6-in-10 Americans believe it is very or somewhat likely that there will be widespread cases of novel H1N1, with people getting very sick this coming fall or winter, according to a survey released Thursday.
Parents are more likely than people without children to believe this will occur, with 65% of parents saying it is very or somewhat likely, compared with 56% of people without children.
“These results suggest Americans are likely to support public health officials in prioritizing preparations for the possibility of a serious H1N1 outbreak in the fall or winter,” stated Robert Blendon, professor of health policy and political analysis at the Harvard School of Public Health, the organization which conducted the surveys.
Despite a majority believing that a serious outbreak is likely, more than half of Americans (61%) are not concerned about their personal risk — that is, that they or their family members will get sick from novel H1N1 in the next year. This level is unchanged since the previous poll conducted from May 5 to 6. The current survey further suggests that the World Health Organization’s decision to raise the worldwide pandemic alert level to Phase 6 did not dramatically impact Americans’ level of concern about their personal risk. Only 22% of Americans knew that the WHO had raised the level, and only 8% of Americans said it made them more concerned that they or their family would get novel H1N1 in the next 12 months.
One approach that has been used in the recent outbreak as a means to slow the spread of novel H1N1 is the closing of schools. In this survey, substantial numbers of parents who have children in school or daycare report that two-week closings in the fall would present serious financial problems for them. About half (51%) of these parents report that if schools/daycares closed for two weeks, they or someone else in their household would likely have to miss work in order to care for the children. Forty-three percent of these parents report that they or someone in their household would likely lose pay or income and have money problems; 26% of these parents report that they or someone in their household would likely lose their job or business as a result of having to stay home in order to care for the children.
The situation is likely to be worse for minority parents. More African American and Hispanic parents of children in school/daycare indicate that they are likely to lose pay or income and have money problems (56% and 64% respectively), as compared to Caucasian respondents (34%). And, more African American and Hispanic parents of children in school/daycare report that they or someone in their household would likely lose their job or business (40% and 49% respectively), as compared with Caucasians (14%).
If the outbreak in the fall or winter is serious and leads to large-scale workforce absenteeism, the survey suggests the possibility of substantial difficulties for many people and the economy as a whole. If people had to stay home for seven to 10 days because they were sick or because they had to care for a family member who was sick, 44% indicate that they would be likely to lose pay or income and have money problems, and 25% reported that they would be likely to lose their job or business.
“The findings highlight the important role that employers would play during a future outbreak. Flexibility in their employee policies may help minimize some of the problems identified in this survey,” Blendon said.
Reese introduces OneTabT dose Cold and Flu Products
CLEVELAND, OHIO Reese Pharmaceutical Co. announced the launch of its OneTabT line with three new OTC dye-free, cold and flu relief tablet products.
In exchange for the two-tablets dosage from the national brands and store-brand equivalents, Reese is providing consumers with a convenient one-tablet dosage, without altering the active ingredients.
OneTabT is available for the same price as competitive national brands but comes with six additional tablets and provides customers with 30 doses per package, compared with the 12 doses from national brands thanks to OneTabT’s easy one-tablet dosages.
Individual product offerings are available to help stop cold and flu, allergy and sinus as well as congestion and cough.