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Washington, Mo., considers repealing recently passed PSE legislation

BY DSN STAFF

NEW YORK The objective here is closing down clandestine methamphetamine labs. The question is: Who is going to bear the cost? And the answer, ultimately, is the consumer.

It seems that one of the primary reasons behind legislation like this, which is also under consideration by the California state legislature as well as several local municipalities throughout Missouri, is cost shifting.

Indeed, one solution that would prevent the practice of “smurfing,” a practice whereby meth addicts exceed their legal purchase limits in pseudoephedrine products by buying across several nearby pharmacies, is electronic logbooking. By granting access to PSE logbooks to law enforcement in real time, law enforcement officers would not only be made aware of a “smurfer” as they were driving between pharmacies, but would also identify who that smurfer was and where they lived.

Setting up that comprehensive electronic logbooking system requires resources, however. State coffers have traditionally been tapped for that purpose, and at least in the case of California, the Consumer Healthcare Products Association has offered to help defray that cost. In the case of Missouri, more than $500,000 has already been earmarked for the implementation of an electronic logbooking system at the state level.

However,  a not-as-much-talked-about cost is also borne by law enforcement, as pointed out by Franklin County Sgt. Jason Grellner in Missouri. After all, it requires additional resources to actually apprehend and prosecute those criminals, he suggested. And a system that better defines who those criminals may be, by his estimation, could cost the state as much as $350,000 per criminal per year.

Therefore, Grellner argues, it’s a fiscal responsibility to take PSE off the OTC market altogether, and require a prescription for the popular decongestant.

That, in a nutshell, is cost-shifting. Because reverse switching PSE translates into less revenue for retailers (and consequently less taxable revenue, as well) for those consumers who choose to forego PSE-provided relief, and for those who don’t, it’s a greater healthcare cost because now consumers have to schedule an appointment with their primary care practitioner and pay the co-pay for that doctor’s visit on top of the cost of the PSE product.

Regardless of how the consumer ultimately pays for the elimination of meth labs — whether through increased taxes to cover escalating law enforcement budgets or through increased personal healthcare costs — there is another argument to be made here. Switching PSE to prescription-only status may result in fewer meth labs busted, but it’s not going to do anything about those meth addicts still on the street. Necessity is the mother of invention, and for addicts, that simply means sourcing their meth from somewhere else.

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Rite Aid launches Rite Aid Video Values

BY Michael Johnsen

CAMP HILL, Pa. Rite Aid Thursday evening announced a new online savings program to be hosted at www.riteaid.com, where consumers who opt into viewing short informational videos on select products will receive coupons.

“Whether it’s in stores or the path our customers take to get to stores, we’re dedicated to creating an exceptional shopping experience,” stated John Learish, Rite Aid SVP marketing. “This launch of Rite Aid Video Values reinforces our commitment to customers and brands. It’s both a fresh offering for consumers and an accountable sales tool that allows brands to understand the direct impact their video has on sales.”

Videos on the site are organized by brand, category or manufacturer. In addition to product coupons, participants who watch enough videos can earn a $5 Rite Aid “bonus coupon.” Early vendor participants include Procter & Gamble, Kimberly-Clark, L’Oreal, Johnson and Johnson and Wyeth.

The Video Values program was created by AdPerk, a provider of strategic video marketing solutions for retailers.

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Bashas’ to offer a Senior Discount Day

BY Alaric DeArment

CHANDLER, Ariz. A grocery store chain that recently filed for bankruptcy protection hopes to lure more customers with a discount program.

Bashas’ announced that it would offer a Senior Discount Day, offering a 10% discount to customers 55 years and older who purchase more than $15 worth of goods. The discount would not cover alcohol, tobacco or prescription drugs.

Bashas’ filed for bankruptcy protection under Chapter 11 last month, closing 10 stores in Arizona on July 21.

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