PHARMACY

Stop & Shop airs new self-serve idea: Check-out-as-you-go hand scanners

BY Jim Frederick

BRAINTREE, Mass. Ahold USA’s Stop & Shop supermarket division is giving customers in a few of its stores a new way to take the concept of self-service beyond checking and bagging their own groceries at the upfront registers. The 360-store food and pharmacy chain has launched a new test that provides customers with their own hand-held scanning devices when they enter the store – devices which they can use to scan their purchases as they take them off the shelf and put them in their baskets.

The company has introduced the self-service scanners at a few of its stores in Connecticut, according to a report from The Hartford Courant. The devices update purchase totals as customers scan each product in, and automatically deduct for discounts and specials, some of which are only available to shoppers who use the hand-held scanners.

The devices, called Scan It!, are manufactured by Modiv Media Inc. The device maker asserts that the portable scanners can cut average shopping trip times by 12 minutes, but may also trigger more follow-up visits, the Courant reports.

Modiv sells the systems for about $100,000 each, according to the report, and generates revenues by selling manufacturers advertising that appears on the portable screens.Roughly one of every 10 customers in the test stores is choosing to use the scanner, according to the newspaper.

Stop & Shop officials would assert the use of the new self-checkout system is in line with a tradition of innovation at the company, the flagship of Dutch-based Ahold’s supermarket and combo store operation in the U.S.

“From self-service markets to the introduction of the region’s first superstore, Stop & Shop has always been an industry pioneer,” said Carl Schlicker, president and CEO of Ahold’s Stop & Shop/Giant-Landover unit.

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Merck, Cardiome Pharma to collaborate, develop atrial fibrillation treatment

BY Alaric DeArment

VANCOUVER, B.C. Merck & Co. and Cardiome Pharma Corp. announced this week that they would collaborate to develop and commercialize a drug being investigated as a treatment for atrial fibrillation.

The agreement provides Merck with exclusive global rights to the oral formulation of vernakalant, designed for the maintenance of normal heart rhythm in patients with atrial fibrillation. It also provides Merck with exclusive rights outside North America for an intravenous formulation of the drug used for rapid treatment of the disease.

“This agreement underscores Merck’s ongoing commitment to the research and development of new cardiovascular drugs,” Merck Research Laboratories SVP and franchise head of atherosclerosis and cardiovascular Luciano Rossetti said. “Vernakalant is an important addition to our broad portfolio of products and candidates that target multiple aspects of heart disease.”

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FDA approves new topical treatment of head lice

BY Alaric DeArment

ROCKVILLE, Md. The Food and Drug Administration has approved a new prescription topical medication for treating head lice, the agency announced Thursday.

Sciele Pharma’s Benzyl Alcohol Lotion, 5% is the first head lice treatment approved by the FDA that uses benzyl alcohol as its active pharmaceutical ingredient. It is meant for patients ages 6 months and older.

“Head lice are a problem that impacts more than 1 million children each year and is easily transmitted to others,” FDA Center for Drug Evaluation and Research director Janet Woodcock said. “This drug is an effective first-line treatment to eliminate lice infestation and minimize disruption in the daily routines of families.”

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