Content about Insights and Perspectives

October 4, 2013

The National Association of Chain Drug Stores is taking to the airwaves to emphasize the role its members play in disseminating information about the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act and the health insurance exchanges, which officially opened on Tuesday. NACDS president and CEO Steve Anderson appeared on Bloomberg TV's "Surveillance" Tuesday morning to talk about what pharmacies are doing for healthcare delivery.

The NACDS and National Community Pharmacists Association have long touted retail pharmacies as the most accessible centers for health and wellness, and pharmacists as the face of neighborhood health care. That role is especially important given widespread ignorance among the public about the Affordable Care Act and the exchanges.

The National Association of Chain Drug Stores is taking to the airwaves to emphasize the role its members play in disseminating information about the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act and the health insurance exchanges, which officially opened on Tuesday. NACDS president and CEO Steve Anderson appeared on Bloomberg TV's "Surveillance" Tuesday morning to talk about what pharmacies are doing for healthcare delivery.

October 4, 2013

Walgreens reached a 19.1% prescription market share for its fiscal year ended Aug. 31. But that wasn't the story to come out of the Chicagoland retailer's conference call. The story was how far along Walgreens has come in its pledge to transform pharmacy.

Truth is, there isn't one aspect of the pharmacy business that hasn't been touched by Walgreens' focus on transformation. And with the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act yet to come in 2014, Walgreens is far from done. See for yourself: click on DSN's Walgreens news feed — all Walgreens news, all the time — and you have one story after another about how Walgreens is helping to redefine what retail pharmacy means to employers, payers and most importantly, the patient, almost on a daily basis.

Walgreens reached a 19.1% prescription market share for its fiscal year ended Aug. 31. But that wasn't the story to come out of the Chicagoland retailer's conference call.

October 3, 2013

Thirty-seven percent of shoppers in the United States are shopping omnichannel, compared with 29% around the globe, according to a new study.

NEW YORK — Thirty-seven percent of shoppers in the United States are shopping omnichannel, compared with 29% around the globe, according to a new study.

The study, conducted by GfK, found that consumers are "freely mingling" in-store visits, online product research and other information sources when making purchases. The extent of omnichannel shopping varies by category and country and appears tied to mobile device penetration. The study was based on 8,400 interviews in 14 countries.

September 30, 2013

Customer satisfaction with retail pharmacies has increased faster than mail-order pharmacies despite the perceived cost competitiveness of the latter, according to a new study.

WESTLAKE VILLAGE, Calif. — Customer satisfaction with retail pharmacies has increased faster than mail-order pharmacies despite the perceived cost competitiveness of the latter, according to a new study.

September 27, 2013

Congress is expected to pass the Drug Quality and Security Act, which would subject sterile compounding pharmacies to stronger federal regulations and has attracted support from an independent pharmacy trade group, compared with a previous effort at federal regulations of compounding, Senate Bill 959, which many pharmacists feared would threaten their businesses and patients' access to compounded drugs. The efforts to place compounding pharmacies under federal regulations stem from last year's scandal in which many patients died and more were sickened after taking injected steroids contaminated with fungus.

The bills' purpose is simple enough: protecting the safety of patients by preventing irresponsible pharmacies like the New England Compounding Center from slipping through the cracks. But the older bill attracted opposition from independent pharmacies because, despite its good intentions, forced them to make costly changes to their business models or force them out of compounding altogether.

Congress is expected to pass the Drug Quality and Security Act, which would subject sterile compounding pharmacies to stronger federal regulations and has attracted support from an independent pharmacy trade group, compared with a previous effort at federal regulations of compounding, Senate Bill 959, which many pharmacists feared would threaten their businesses and patients' access to compounded drugs.

September 27, 2013

H-E-B pledged to not reduce employee work hours in an effort to avoid having to cover their healthcare last week. In contrast, other employers have been cutting their employee hours to avoid the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act provision that would require healthcare coverage, according to a report published in the San Antonio Express-News.

And while some companies may be looking at ways to squeeze more out of their businesses, H-E-B, along with Walgreens and others, should be applauded for doing the right thing.

H-E-B pledged to not reduce employee work hours in an effort to avoid having to cover their healthcare last week. In contrast, other employers have been cutting their employee hours to avoid the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act provision that would require healthcare coverage, according to a report published in the San Antonio Express-News

September 26, 2013

Flu vaccination coverage in children increased dramatically during the last season, with smaller increases in coverage among adults, according to new data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

WASHINGTON — Flu vaccination coverage in children increased dramatically during the last season, with smaller increases in coverage among adults, according to new data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

In its Morbidity and Mortality Weekly report, the CDC said this week that coverage for children aged 6 months through 17 years during the 2012-2013 season was 56.6%, a 5.1% increase from the 2011-2012 season. Coverage among adults was up by 2.7%, at 41.5%. Some gaps were seen between rates on a state-by-state basis.

September 25, 2013

A bill under consideration by the Senate could force more than 40% of compounding pharmacies to abandon compounding, according to a new survey.

HOUSTON — A bill under consideration by the Senate could force more than 40% of compounding pharmacies to abandon compounding, according to a new survey.

September 24, 2013

For job security and good salary growth, become a pharmacist or nurse. That's the message from a recent ranking of the most lucrative college majors in Kiplinger magazine.

NEW YORK — For job security and good salary growth, become a pharmacist or nurse. That's the message from a recent ranking of the most lucrative college majors in Kiplinger magazine.

September 24, 2013

The global market for Type 2 diabetes will nearly double over the next six years, according to a new report.

NEW YORK — The global market for Type 2 diabetes will nearly double over the next six years, according to a new report.

GBI Research announced the release of a study Tuesday indicating that the market will grow from 2012's $20.4 billion to $38.8 billion by 2019, at an annual growth rate of 10.2%. The United States' market, meanwhile, will more than double, from $12.7 billion last year to $27.2 billion in 2019.

September 23, 2013

A report funded by a Council for Responsible Nutrition Foundation grant made the case for supplementation as a key component in any healthcare cost reduction strategy. It's not news to those in the industry who already know the health benefits associated with supplementation. But for the consumer media so quick to run a negative headline, this may come as a bit of a shock.

Here's the secret. Dietary supplements are not only a part of a healthy diet, they also beget healthier behaviors. And America is at the precipice of becoming a whole lot more interested in healthier behaviors. After all, the cost burden shift from the employer to the consumer will only continue. And as consumers assume more and more of those healthcare costs, reports like this will help make the case that supplementation is worth a look as a cost containment tool.

A report funded by a Council for Responsible Nutrition Foundation grant made the case for supplementation as a key component in any healthcare cost reduction strategy. It's not news to those in the industry who already know the health benefits associated with supplementation. But for the consumer media so quick to run a negative headline, this may come as a bit of a shock. 

September 23, 2013

A large majority of Americans consider obesity to be the country's biggest health problem, according to a new survey.

CINCINNATI — A large majority of Americans consider obesity to be the country's biggest health problem, according to a new survey.

September 23, 2013

Rite Aid reported its second quarter 2014 earnings Thursday, posting its fourth-consecutive profitable quarter, its passing the 1,000 mark in the number of stores it has converted to the Wellness format and more than 930,000 members of Wellness65+, the latest extension to its Wellness+ loyalty care program, aimed at seniors.

In other words, the country's third-largest drug store chain has once again shown it's on a roll. In light of the latest earnings, the company raised its guidance for fiscal year 2014, expecting a profit of between $182 million and $268 million.

Rite Aid reported its second quarter 2014 earnings Thursday, posting its fourth-consecutive profitable quarter, its passing the 1,000 mark in the number of stores it has converted to the Wellness format and more than 930,000 members of Wellness65+, the latest extension to its Wellness+ loyalty care program, aimed at seniors.

September 17, 2013

Antibiotic-resistant bacteria sicken more than 2 million people per year and kill at least 23,000, according to a new study by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

ATLANTA — Antibiotic-resistant bacteria sicken more than 2 million people per year and kill at least 23,000, according to a new study by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

And the costs go beyond human health and life. According to a study by Tufts University, direct healthcare costs and costs to society for lost productivity from the infections could be as high as $55 billion per year.

September 17, 2013

Many seniors mistakenly think that health insurance exchanges will replace Medicare, according to a new survey, which attributes much of the confusion to "conflicting chatter" about the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare.

ST. LOUIS — Many seniors mistakenly think that health insurance exchanges will replace Medicare, according to a new survey, which attributes much of the confusion to "conflicting chatter" about the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare.

The survey, conducted in August by pharmacy benefit manager Express Scripts and titled 50 States of Confusion, comes as the OCT. 1, launch of the exchanges draws near. It included 1,101 seniors currently enrolled in a Medicare plan or who would be eligible for one within 12 months.

September 17, 2013

Market saturation will drive down the market for electronic medical records in the United States despite a spike last year resulting from government incentive funding, according to a new study.

TORONTO — Market saturation will drive down the market for electronic medical records in the United States despite a spike last year resulting from government incentive funding, according to a new study.

The Millennium Research Group predicts that due to Medicare penalties for hospitals and physicians that fail to demonstrate meaningful use of electronic medical records by 2015, most adoption will occur by then. But market saturation means that purchases of new systems will likely decline.

September 17, 2013

Sales of general merchandise are expected to increase by 2.4% during the holiday season of November and December, but shoppers will visit fewer stores, according to a new forecast.

CHICAGO — Sales of general merchandise are expected to increase by 2.4% during the holiday season of November and December, but shoppers will visit fewer stores, according to a new forecast.

September 13, 2013

The Department of Health and Human Services is setting aside $5.3 million to expand health information technology — particularly telehealth — in rural areas in order to improve mental health services for veterans.

Telehealth represents one of the best ways to expand healthcare services to underserved areas while also lowering costs by expanding the area a health professional can cover from a single location.

The Department of Health and Human Services is setting aside $5.3 million to expand health information technology — particularly telehealth — in rural areas in order to improve mental health services for veterans.

Telehealth represents one of the best ways to expand healthcare services to underserved areas while also lowering costs by expanding the area a health professional can cover from a single location.

September 13, 2013

Theranos and Walgreens announced a long-term partnership to bring access to Theranos’ new lab testing service through Walgreens pharmacies nationwide. As the service becomes available through Theranos Wellness Centers inside Walgreens stores, consumers will be able to access less invasive and more affordable clinician-directed lab testing.

With this news, it becomes clear that the days of the Walgreens pharmacist and nurse practitioner are numbered. Not because those professionals are going anywhere, mind you. But because the connotation associated with those occupations really no longer apply. With the number of healthcare services being rolled out under the Walgreens umbrella, it would be more apropos to identify them as healthcare brokers.

Theranos and Walgreens announced a long-term partnership to bring access to Theranos’ new lab testing service through Walgreens pharmacies nationwide. As the service becomes available through Theranos Wellness Centers inside Walgreens stores, consumers will be able to access less invasive and more affordable clinician-directed lab testing. 

September 12, 2013

While pertussis is often considered a childhood disease, a new study from GlaxoSmithKline indicates it's a lot more common among older adults than commonly reported.

NEW YORK — While pertussis is often considered a childhood disease, a new study from GlaxoSmithKline indicates it's a lot more common among older adults than commonly reported.

September 11, 2013

A vaccine to slow the progression of HIV and a monoclonal antibody that protects against influenza are among the nearly 300 vaccines under development by drug makers in the United States, according to a new report by a drug industry trade group.

WASHINGTON — A vaccine to slow the progression of HIV and a monoclonal antibody that protects against influenza are among the nearly 300 vaccines under development by drug makers in the United States, according to a new report by a drug industry trade group.

September 11, 2013

Nearly all doctors say that the sharp growth in Type 2 diabetes around the world and the obesity epidemic are linked to excess sugar consumption, according to a new report by the Credit Suisse Research Institute.

NEW YORK — Nearly all doctors say that the sharp growth in Type 2 diabetes around the world and the obesity epidemic are linked to excess sugar consumption, according to a new report by the Credit Suisse Research Institute.

The institute, part of the global investment bank, released the report Wednesday titled "Sugar: Consumption at a Crossroads," which explores the medical, economic, consumer, corporate and public policy elements of global sugar consumption and what it means for investors.

September 9, 2013

E-cigarettes may be as effective as nicotine patches in helping smokers quit, according to a new study.

NEW YORK — E-cigarettes may be as effective as nicotine patches in helping smokers quit, according to a new study.

Researchers in Auckland, New Zealand, selected 657 smokers who were attempting to quit, dividing them into one group of 289 who received e-cigarettes, 295 who received nicotine patches and 73 who received placebo e-cigarettes without nicotine. The study was published online Monday in British medical journal The Lancet.

September 6, 2013

The retail industry added 43,600 jobs last month, particularly in general merchandise, electronics and clothing, according to an industry trade group.

WASHINGTON — The retail industry added 43,600 jobs last month, particularly in general merchandise, electronics and clothing, according to an industry trade group.

The numbers were based on calculations from the National Retail Federation, out of a total 169,000 jobs that the Bureau of Labor Statistics said the economy added in August, bringing the country's unemployment rate down to 7.3%.

September 6, 2013

More students in middle and high school are using electronic cigarettes, according to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

NEW YORK — More students in middle and high school are using electronic cigarettes, according to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

In its Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report Friday, the CDC said that between 2011 and 2012, among students in sixth through 12th grades, e-cigarette use increased from 3.3% to 6.8%.