Retail News Breaks Archives
Drug chains put spotlight on their pharmacists
October 7th, 2011
NEW YORK – The nation's three biggest drug store chains, along with the American Pharmacists Association, are highlighting the value of the local pharmacist during October for the annual American Pharmacists Month campaign.
By putting pharmacists in the limelight this month, Rite Aid Corp., CVS Caremark Corp. and Walgreen Co., as well as other chain drug retailers, have a key message to convey to consumers: Your neighborhood pharmacist is nearby and ready to not just fill your prescriptions, but also to provide you with trusted counsel on your medications and health care concerns.
Rite Aid this week began asking customers to vote for their Favorite Pharmacist by sharing stories of extraordinary service and telling what makes their pharmacist special. The annual program honors Rite Aid pharmacists for their commitment to customer care and service.
Through Oct. 31, customers can vote for their favorite pharmacist online at riteaid.com/pharmacy or via a mail-in nomination form at any Rite Aid drug store. Votes can also be cast by "liking" Rite Aid's Facebook page and visiting a special tab. Customers who vote will be entered into a random drawing to win $2,500 in Rite Aid gift cards. A nominated pharmacist also can win $2,500 in Rite Aid gift cards through a random drawing.
"Our pharmacists play a critical role in the health and well-being of their customers and communities."
— Dan Miller, senior VP of pharmacy, Rite Aid
All "favorite" Rite Aid pharmacists will be notified by Rite Aid and receive a "Favorite Pharmacist" pin and a letter of commendation from Rite Aid president and chief executive officer John Standley in honor of their top-notch customer service.
"There's no better time than American Pharmacists Month to thank our pharmacists for the superior customer service they provide to Rite Aid patients throughout the year," Dan Miller, senior vice president of pharmacy at Rite Aid, said in a statement. "Whether they are counseling a customer on a new medication or helping a caregiver to understand and manage their loved one's disease, our pharmacists play a critical role in the health and well-being of their customers and communities. This program lets our pharmacists know how proud we are of them and how thankful we and their customers are for all that they do."
CVS Caremark said this week that it's taking the opportunity during American Pharmacists Month to recognize the pivotal role that its 26,000 pharmacists play in programs and services that improve patients' health while lowering the overall cost of health care.
The company will publicly recognize its pharmacists and their commitment to patient care during October with ads in industry trade publications and on its in-store radio network. It also will celebrate National Pharmacy Technician Day on Oct. 25 in recognition of the key role that its 50,000 technicians play in supporting CVS Caremark pharmacists and serving their patients.
"Pharmacists are consistently ranked by the public as being the most accessible and among the most trustworthy health care providers in the community."
—Larry Merlo, president & CEO,
CVS Caremark noted that a study it sponsored last year found that face-to-face interaction with a pharmacist was the most effective method of communication to get patients to adhere to their prescription drug regimens, which results in better health outcomes and in turn leads to reduced medical costs. To underscore the value of its pharmacists, the company cited its Care 1on1 program, in which patients get dedicated time with CVS pharmacists to review savings, safety and side effects when transferring or filling a new ongoing medication.
"Pharmacists are consistently ranked by the public as being the most accessible and among the most trustworthy health care providers in the community," stated Larry Merlo, president and chief executive officer of CVS Caremark. "CVS Caremark's pharmacists play an important role in supporting our goal to provide greater access, convenience and quality pharmacy care to patients."
Walgreens, meanwhile, is highlighting the accessibility of its pharmacists in serving their communities' medication and health care needs. During American Pharmacists Month, the drug chain is noting that its pharmacists are well-positioned to provide education, support and health services such as screenings for chronic care patients, immunizations and a range of health tests.
"Our pharmacists demonstrate their dedication to providing high-quality pharmacy, health and wellness services through the support and guidance they offer patients every day," Kermit Crawford, president of pharmacy, health and wellness at Walgreens, said in a statement. "Among the most accessible health care professionals, our pharmacists are spending more time with patients through consultations, immunizations, medication questions or concerns, health testing and other important services."
"Our pharmacists demonstrate their dedication to providing high-quality pharmacy, health and wellness services through the support and guidance they offer patients every day."
— Kermit Crawford, president of pharmacy, health & wellness, Walgreens
Walgreens pointed out that one way pharmacists are expanding their role is through immunizations. The company has more than 26,000 certified immunizing pharmacists, offering flu shots in every pharmacy, every day and with no appointment necessary. Another example of the impact pharmacists can have, the chain drug retailer said, was its series health testing events at select stores last December. Over 40% of patients receiving cholesterol and blood glucose tests at those stores tested with levels considered out of the desired range or high.
And over the last few years, Walgreens has launched a number of community education programs targeting diabetes awareness, HIV/AIDS, blood pressure tests and smoking cessation. The company said its pharmacy teams also offer key assistance to seniors each year with the Medicare Part D enrollment process, and Walgreens pharmacists are frequently out in their communities conducting school talks, assisting in community health fairs and participating in health and safety outreach efforts.
The American Pharmacists Association (APhA) this year has a specific mission during American Pharmacists Month: encouraging Americans to partner with their pharmacists to help prevent and control diabetes.
APhA noted that the incidence of diabetes has reached epidemic proportions. Citing a 2011 data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the association reported that about 25.8 million people, or 8.3% of the U.S. population, have diabetes and that an estimated 79 million Americans ages 20 and older, or 35% of the population, have prediabetes.
Among adults with diagnosed type 1 or type 2 diabetes, 84% are using some form of medication therapy (oral, insulin or a combination) for treatment, and because of the large number of medications utilized in the treatment of diabetes, a relationship with the pharmacist — the medication expert — is pivotal in a patient's disease management, according to APhA.
To that end, pharmacists can be a great resource for patients with diabetes, especially in medication management, the association said. Pharmacists can offer a number of services to help diabetic patient better control the day-to-day management of their condition, including the following: nutrition management counseling, exercise and physical activity instruction, continuous blood glucose monitoring advice and guidance, medication rherapy management, healthy behavior management and guidance, and health maintenance counseling and guidance (such as skin care, foot care, dental care, eye care, proper insulin injection technique, smoking cessation, immunizations and blood pressure monitoring).
Every year, APhA conducts its public education campaign, "Know Your Medicine, Know Your Pharmacist" urging consumers to get to know their pharmacist. Highlighted in October for American Pharmacists Month, the effort stresses the link between knowing your pharmacist and the safe, effective use of medications, the association said.
"Pharmacists work as a team with doctors and other health care providers to optimize care, improve medication use and to prevent disease," APhA stated. "To achieve the best outcomes for their condition, patients should maintain regular visits with all of their health care providers. APhA encourages consumers to fill all their prescriptions with one pharmacy, get to know their pharmacist on a first-name basis, carry an up-to-date medication and vaccination list, and share all medical information with each of their health care providers."