Content about Opinion

March 4, 2011

It’s about 2:30 p.m. on Tuesday. I usually wait a couple more days to write my column, but I don’t need to think any more about what to write.

My first insights into retailing came to me by way of my great aunt Agatha Mastromatteo-Corsello-Langella at the boutique she owned just off the corner of 72nd Street and Broadway, here in New York City. As I write this now, it has been less than three hours since she passed away in the company of her two sons Michael and Glen.

February 18, 2011

“Smah-ten up, Ee-dah.” Loosely translated from deep “Mainer-ese,” that means, “smarten up, Eder.”


It’s a voice from my childhood, an old coach and counselor from summer camp, Tobias Woodworth. I called him Toby. He called me “Ee-dah.”


Stuck with me and all my other quasi-incorrigible New York City friends, Toby found himself saying, “smah-ten up!” an awful lot. It could mean anything from “you’ve got two strikes — protect the plate” to “put down that rock.”


February 1, 2011



It appears that even the “King of All Media” Howard Stern gets his news from Drug Store News. Traffic on the site spiked in late December when a DrugStoreNews.com story made it into Stern sidekick Robin Quivers’ daily news broadcast during the Thursday, Dec. 16 show. The Stern Web page also linked to the story under the “It’s Time for Robin’s News” section in the rundown for the satellite radio program’s show (“Use lanolin on your cracked nipples” at HowardStern.com/Rundown.hs).


January 5, 2011



Last month, the American Journal of Managed Care published a review of more than 40 years worth of studies from various medical journals that demonstrated that the best way to improve adherence is to get patients to talk to the store pharmacist; the second-best way is to get them to talk to a nurse before they leave the hospital.


December 7, 2010

We’re making big changes around here in 2011 — and we’re doing it because you told us to.


Whenever we ask one of our readers what they want from Drug Store News, inevitably, the answer always is: “Tell me something I don’t already know about.”


That’s the problem with most trade magazines today — by the time you get the issue, it’s all old news; often more than a month old by the time it lands on your desk. 


November 14, 2010

I was born the day after Thanksgiving. My mom tells me I wanted out the...

I was born the day after Thanksgiving. My mom tells me I wanted out the second I smelled the food. This has always been a special time of year for me—it’s in my blood.

I have a lot to be thankful for these days. One-in-10 Americans are out of work, and many have been for more than a year. As I write this, people in Haiti’s tent cities are reluctant to take shelter from Hurricane Tomas for fear they might again lose everything; whatever they had left was in those tents.

October 24, 2010

As this issue went to press, it sure had been a busy week here at Drug Store News. And that means it was a busy week for the industry, too.

As this issue went to press, it sure had been a busy week here at Drug Store News. And that means it was a busy week for the industry, too.

October 10, 2010

Stuffing the last of my sweaty clothes into my bag, the peace and tranquility of...

Stuffing the last of my sweaty clothes into my bag, the peace and tranquility of my “killer” 90-minute chest/ abs workout was instantly shattered by the sound of the blowhard holding court in the far corner of the locker room. A real “mook,” as we would call him in my family.

September 26, 2010

As I write this column, it’s the final Super Tuesday primaries in eight states, including...

As I write this column, it’s the final Super Tuesday primaries in eight states, including here in New York, before the big mid-term elections in November. And if the Sunday morning news shows are right, the Democrats are in for a spanking. Given the present state of the economy, the stagnant job market and the American electorate’s need to find someone to blame, it’s really kind of inevitable.

September 12, 2010

A certain literary hero of mine might have called it “Fear and Loathing in San...

A certain literary hero of mine might have called it “Fear and Loathing in San Diego.” Stranded at the airport bar for the better part of nine hours while JetBlue drove down a new part from Los Angeles International Airport for our plane’s public address system—without which Flight 188 to New York’s John F.

August 22, 2010

Over-the-counter and health-and-beauty care marketers have been struggling to find ways to harness the communication...

Over-the-counter and health-and-beauty care marketers have been struggling to find ways to harness the communication power of pharmacy to help them build their brand equity. The path to achieve this goal has been for consumer packaged goods companies to develop pharmacy programs designed to educate and capture the attention of pharmacists so that pharmacists may communicate and educate their patients about their products at the point of decision-making.

July 18, 2010

“I have read dribs and drabs of this in different publications over the last couple...

“I have read dribs and drabs of this in different publications over the last couple of years, but this (“7 Deadly Sins of SKU Rationalization,” Drug Store News, June 7, 2010) really pulled it all together.… Hopefully some of the retailers will wake up and read this and understand what they’re doing in terms of customer loyalty, traffic, profitability and so on.”

July 18, 2010

Upon reading your June 7 cover story, “7 Deadly Sins of SKU Rationalization,” we at...

Dear Editor,

Upon reading your June 7 cover story, “7 Deadly Sins of SKU Rationalization,” we at The Swanson Group/Mack Elevation Forum have identified 10 ways that a small- or mid-sized vendor can avoid being SKU-rationalized. Respectfully, we have offered them for fellow Drug Store News readers.

June 6, 2010

Mom + Baby has been a very successful equation for drug retailers in the past....

Mom + Baby has been a very successful equation for drug retailers in the past. After all, babies need lots of “stuff,” and moms historically have been responsible for buying the stuff babies need. The success of the Mom + Baby equation, however, is weakening because it fails to include an increasingly important but often ignored element: Dad. Here’s my forecast for the future: Those retailers who fail to add Dad to the traditional Mom + Baby equation will see their market share decline.

June 6, 2010

And there is a good reason for it....

And there is a good reason for it.

You probably have already noticed, this issue is jammed with great stuff, from our special report, 7 Deadly Sins of SKU Rationalization, to the exclusive Retail Store of the Year section, highlighting winners from Drug Store News’ sister publication Chain Store Age’s annual store design competition. There just isn’t a lot of room for me and my opinion in this issue.

May 16, 2010

Last issue I wrote about the 9-in.-by-12-in. box on my desk, in which I keep...

Last issue I wrote about the 9-in.-by-12-in. box on my desk, in which I keep my own personal copy of Congress’ Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.

Lately, I have been pondering something heavier than that 25-lb. box of paper. What would health reform look like if I could light it on fire and start all over again?

I think I would take a page from what works about specialty pharmacy. I was reminded of this as I read the findings from two recent surveys that CVS Caremark released in April, about a week apart from each other, around the topic of adherence.

April 18, 2010

Want to weigh in on healthcare reform? What do you think it weighs, anyway—Congress’ Patient...

Want to weigh in on healthcare reform? What do you think it weighs, anyway—Congress’ Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act? Drug Store News printed out the 2,400-plus page document, and with no binder clips big enough nor a stapler aggressive enough to contain it, we have kept it in a 9 in.-by-12 in. box that is roughly 10 in. deep—the pages overflow by about an inch.

I spot it at about 25 lbs. or so.

March 14, 2010

It’s not like I’m not one of those conspiracy theorists. But I’m also not stupid...

It’s not like I’m not one of those conspiracy theorists. But I’m also not stupid enough to think that Lee Harvey Oswald was a good enough shot to have acted alone, either.

That’s kind of the way I have felt these past few weeks since the American Academy of Family Physicians suddenly reversed its official policy on retail clinics. The AAFP no longer will enter into agreements like the ones it previously held with Minute Clinic, Rediclinic, The Little Clinic and BellinHealth Fast Care, the group announced Feb. 24.

March 14, 2010

Most organizations have blind spots hindering their growth and their alignment with their top retail...

Most organizations have blind spots hindering their growth and their alignment with their top retail partners. So what is the root of this reoccurring leadership trap? In many cases, executives are fearful of true self assessment uncovering cracks in their own armor, while others just don’t place a high enough value on strategic reflection and a thoughtful design of an integrated national sales strategy. How often do most organizations honestly look into the mirror while practicing personal reflection?

February 28, 2010

February was a busy month for CVS Caremark. First it was a partyon Beale Street...

February was a busy month for CVS Caremark. First it was a party on Beale Street as the chain announced its entry into Memphis. A week later, it broke out the pina coladas as it cut the ribbon on its first store in Puerto Rico. In January, it was Budweiser in St. Louis.

There are just eight states in which CVS does not operate stores: Alaska, Arkansas, Idaho, Oregon, South Dakota, Utah, Washington and Wyoming. In drug store retailing, being able to provide coverage “from sea to shining sea” means a lot when you try to sell your services to big healthcare payers.

February 15, 2010

Moreover, low-cost, convenient clinics offer the best solution for improving access to care for the...

“Moreover, low-cost, convenient clinics offer the best solution for improving access to care for the uninsured, individuals without primary care physicians and workers in need of routine care.” That’s how National Center for Policy Analysis senior fellow Devon Herrick concluded his recent white paper, dated Jan. 14, 2010, “Retail Clinics: Convenient and Affordable Care.”

Hallelujah—someone in Washington finally gets it.

January 10, 2010

Whether it was Otto von Bismarck or the 19th century American poet John Godfrey Saxe...

Whether it was Otto von Bismarck or the 19th century American poet John Godfrey Saxe who first warned lovers of sausage and/or the law to never watch either being made, it is pretty clear that the Democrats don’t want you to know too much about how the healthreform-wurst is getting made. They don’t even want C-SPAN to see.

December 13, 2009

Not quite, but the continued evolution of Kerr Drug’s Community Healthcare Center store concept certainly...

Not quite, but the continued evolution of Kerr Drug’s Community Healthcare Center store concept certainly offers a glimpse into what role community pharmacy could play in the American healthcare system of the future—and it goes far beyond just medication therapy management. Like the deal CVS Caremark announced in November with Generation Health, pharmacogenomics, the study of how genetics influence drug response, represents the new frontier of community pharmacy. And it’s a brave new world out there, to be sure.

November 15, 2009

Half the world is composed of people who have something to say and can’t; and...

“Half the world is composed of people who have something to say and can’t; and the other half who have nothing to say and keep on saying it.”—Robert Frost

It is a maxim that has been proven time and again in our culture: The biggest is not always the best. Think about it. What do Apple, Neutrogena, Movado, Aveeno, Tom’s of Maine, Swatch and Bose have in common? Although none of these brands are the largest in their segment of business, they clearly are the “thought leaders” and the cultural or growth catalysts in their class.

November 15, 2009

A couple of issues back I wrote a column about a question a guy asked...

A couple of issues back I wrote a column about a question a guy asked me at conference earlier this fall: “So, who’s bigger—CVS or Walgreens?” Ironically, it was the week each company opened its 7,000th store. The point: If you’re measuring these companies based solely on who operates the most stores, if that’s the way you’re keeping score, you’re watching the wrong game.

I still believe that.