PHARMACY

Winn-Dixie connects consumers with health information, education

BY DSN STAFF

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. Drug Store News. It’s an opportunity to bridge the gap between what the doctor is telling the patients on how to best manage their eating habits in pursuit of better health, and what’s actually being placed into those shopping carts.—For Winn-Dixie, you can say that the role of supermarket pharmacy is to keep patients from falling into the gap that exists between the doctor’s office and everyday healthy living, John Fegan, VP pharmacy at Winn-Dixie, told

“I’m a firm believer that the services we offer in our pharmacies are going to be as valuable, or more valuable, as the products,” he said.

One example: Winn-Dixie recently rolled out its WD RxConnect program to its patients. WD RxConnect not only links all of Winn-Dixie’s more than 400 pharmacies through a centralized prescription record system, it also allows patients to access their own records online. “That’s kind of unique in the food store industry,” Fegan said. “Under the WD RxConnect program, a patient can walk in and look up [his or her] medication history online and see what they’re taking,” he said. That medication profile, which includes notable side effects associated with patients’ medications, or possible drug-drug interactions, can help patients manage their health regimens on their own.

The new system also can give Winn-Dixie patients peace of mind that they are, in fact, taking what their doctors prescribed. “They can look to see what their medication is supposed to look like—the tablets, capsules, etc.,” Fegan said.

That little piece of information may become more important as time goes on, especially as the business of generic pharmaceuticals continues to grow. “When we fill those prescriptions with a different color tablet [than what the patient has been getting], the pharmacist notifies the patient,” Fegan said. “But sometimes, patients are a little forgetful, and they get home and look in their medicine cabinet and they see a white tablet versus the one they just had filled, which is purple. With WD Rx-Connect, they can go online [and see] the purple tablet,” he said. “The pharmacy system [automatically] makes the switch to show the product that was dispensed, so it assures the patients that they do have the right [medicine] in their hands.”

In addition to managing their prescriptions online, Winn-Dixie patients also can use the system to print out a wallet-sized card with all of the information around their prescriptions. For parents, they can set up a profile for their children on WD RxConnect. And for seniors, they can afford access to their own profile to their caregivers.

BY THE NUMBERS

Winn-Dixie
No. of stores 521
Stores with Rx 404

Winn-Dixie has a comprehensive medication therapy management program in place as well, where trained pharmacists partner with local general practitioners to counsel patients around the importance of taking their medications. “One of the biggest challenges within pharmacy right now is the fact that people aren’t compliant with their medication,” Fegan said.

“We are one of the leaders in the follow-up and the execution of these MTM programs,” Fegan said, citing what one local insurer told him. Currently, Winn-Dixie provides MTM services around diabetes, women’s health and arthritis, with plans to expand to other medical conditions in the near future.

Beyond pharmaceuticals and food, Winn-Dixie hosts several health testing services and immunization opportunities in all of its pharmacies throughout the year. The goal is for each pharmacy to host at least one event per quarter, such as free diabetes screenings or free cholesterol screenings.

For flu season, Winn-Dixie fields more than 425 immunizers across its 400 pharmacies. And those pharmacists specially trained in administering vaccines aren’t just giving flu shots, be it seasonal or H1N1 this year, Fegan said. There’s also pneumococcal vaccinations, Zostavax for shingles and meningococcal vaccine for college-age students.

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PHARMACY

Walgreens offering free review sessions to Medicare Part D beneficiaries

BY Allison Cerra

DEERFIELD, Ill. Walgreens now is offering free review sessions to Medicare Part D beneficiaries at all of its more than 7,100 pharmacies throughout the country.

Following the open enrollment period for Medicare Part D insurance plans, Walgreens is assisting those beneficiaries who’ve made changes to their prescription drug coverage. Review sessions with Walgreens pharmacists are available daily by appointment through Jan. 31, and are designed to help patients maximize their plan benefits.

Review sessions include:

  • A review of beneficiary’s current medications, tiers within their selected plan, co-pays and cost-savings opportunities
  • Discussion of available health and wellness services including pneumonia and shingles vaccinations and 90-day prescription benefits
  • Checks for potential drug interactions

Customers can call their nearest Walgreens pharmacy to schedule an appointment. Visit www.walgreens.com or call 1-800-Walgreens for store locations and hours.

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Watson files FDA application for generic LoSeasonique

BY Allison Cerra

MORRISTOWN, N.J. Watson Labs, a subsidiary of specialty pharmaceutical company Watson Pharmaceuticals, has filed an abbreviated new drug application to the Food and Drug Administration for an oral contraceptive.

Watson is seeking approval to market its levonorgestrel and ethinyl estradiol (0.10-mg/0.02-mg) oral contraceptive product prior to the expiration of U.S. Patent No. 7,615,545, which is owned by Duramed Pharmaceuticals, a subsidiary of Teva.  Watson’s levonorgestrel and ethinyl estradiol product is a generic version of Teva’s LoSeasonique, which is indicated for the prevention of pregnancy.

On Nov. 23, 2009, pursuant to the Hatch-Waxman Act, Watson notified Duramed that its ANDA requesting approval from the FDA for a generic version of LoSeasonique contained a paragraph IV certification asserting that the LoSeasonique patent is invalid, unenforceable and/or not infringed.  Teva Women’s Health filed suit against Watson on Jan. 6, 2010 in the U.S. District Court for the District of New Jersey seeking to prevent Watson from commercializing its product prior to the expiration of U.S. Patent No. 7,615,545.  Based on available information, Watson believes it may be entitled to 180 days of generic market exclusivity or shared exclusivity should its product receive approval.

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