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Issue 08-08-2011

Express Scripts, Medco to merge

ST. LOUIS — In one fell swoop, the pharmacy benefits market is changing in a big way. The $29.1 billion merger between Express Scripts Inc. and Medco Health Solutions Inc., the No. 2 and No. 3 pharmacy benefit managers (PBMs), respectively, would create the nation’s largest PBM, if the transaction clears regulatory hurdles. The combined

Combination of PBMs draws fire from Rx groups

WASHINGTON — The proposed merger of pharmacy benefit managers Express Scripts and Medco Health Solutions is expected to face close scrutiny from antitrust regulators because the combined company would have leverage over about a third of U.S. prescriptions filled. News of the deal drew sharp criticism from the National Association of Chain Drug Stores and

Walgreens goes on the offensive

DEERFIELD, Ill. — Walgreen Co. has launched a letter-writing campaign to benefits consultants that outlines the reasons it likely won’t be part of Express Scripts Inc.’s pharmacy provider network after December 31. Kermit Crawford, president of pharmacy, health and wellness at Walgreens, notes in the correspondence that the two sides remain far apart on key

Navarro embarks on multifaceted growth strategy

MEDLEY, Fla. — Navarro Discount Pharmacy has made a habit of thinking outside the small box. While it has just 29 drug stores, and they’re all in one county, the retailer has of late ventured into e-commerce, a mobile pharmacy app and creation of the first bilingual Hispanic private label, all the while beginning a

Mass retailers will bring relief to food deserts

WASHINGTON — Executives from some of the largest mass-market retailers vowed at a White House ceremony to open or expand 1,500 stores in communities designated as “food deserts” because of limited access to nutritious food. Appearing with first lady Michelle Obama, whose Partnership for a Healthier America is working to combat obesity by improving Americans’

NACDS prepares members for the unthinkable

WASHINGTON — Given the high stakes, the National Association of Chain Drug Stores made sure that pharmacy’s voice was heard in the wrangling over the nation’s debt ceiling and its members were prepared in the event that no deal was reached. NACDS sent a letter to President Obama and congressional leaders that spotlighted critical pharmacy

Perzow exits as Pharmaca chairman

BOULDER, Colo. — Pharmaca Integrative Pharmacy Inc. founder Barry Perzow is retiring from his position as chairman. Perzow will continue to serve on the chain’s board of directors. With a background of running natural grocery stores, Perzow came up with the idea of a pharmacy that would offer traditional prescription medications and alternative remedies. The

Walgreens to roll out vehicle charging stations

DEERFIELD, Ill. — Electric vehicle charging stations are expected to be available by the end of the year at about 800 Walgreen Co. stores across the country, which the drug chain says will make it the nation’s largest retail host of such sites. Walgreens stores will provide locations for EV drivers to recharge near their

B-T-S bargain hunters get help from Rite Aid

CAMP HILL, Pa. — Rite Aid Corp. is stocking its stores nationwide with values on many essential back-to-school supplies in anticipation of a shopping season that the National Retail Federation says will bring more bargain hunters to drug stores. “In response to today’s valueconscious consumer, we have greatly expanded our value programs in recent years,”

Ritzman, Buehler’s eye partnership

WADSWORTH, Ohio — Ritzman Pharmacies Inc. and Buehler Food Markets Inc. are negotiating a deal under which Ritzman would own and operate the supermarket chain’s pharmacies. Ritzman, based here, operates nine drug stores in the state. Wooster, Ohio-based Buehler Food Markets operates 13 supermarkets in Ohio, and 11 have pharmacies. The retailers have signed a

New era in drug store design arrives

2011 will be remembered as the year when the basic drug store format took several dramatic turns for the better, burying, perhaps forever, the vanilla-flavor format that has served chain drug retailing so adequately for so long. Two of the newly unveiled formats — those by Duane Reade and Rite Aid — make a bold

PBM merger reshapes playing field for Rx

The pending $29.1 billion merger of Express Scripts and Medco Health Solutions — a deal that, if it passes muster with government regulators, will combine two of the three largest pharmacy benefit management companies to create a dominant player in the sector — raises a host of challenges for community pharmacy operators and others involved