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Issue 06-17-2013

Survey: Retail pharmacy can help empower patients

NEW YORK — A new survey has reinforced the potential of pharmacists to play a key role in consumer-driven health care. The 2013 Aflac WorkForces Report reveals Americans’ lack confidence in their ability to play an active part in consumer-driven care. With pharmacists being among the most trusted professionals and providing a broadened array of

Health insurance exchanges begin to take shape

WASHINGTON — More than 120 insurance companies have signed up for online health exchanges that will start offering subsidized plans in less than four months. Federal officials pointed to that number as an early sign of consumer choice and competition that could help limit costs and prevent the price hikes that Republicans and some analysts

Commonsense reform for PBMs

Pharmacies — large and small — might lack leverage in contractual negotiations with pharmacy benefit managers, but the actual leverage pharmacies have is to expose systematic inequities and their effect on every other stakeholder. When pharmacies make that case to the masses, progress can be made in balancing the one-sided business relationship existing between giant

House passes pharmaceutical tracking bill

WASHINGTON — A federal system to track and trace prescription drugs moved a step closer to becoming reality earlier this month when the House of Representatives approved the Safeguarding America’s Pharmaceuticals Act of 2013. Members of the House, who passed the measure on a voice vote, and industry advocates say the creation of a nationwide

USA Drug’s LaFrance dies

PINE BLUFF, Ark. — Stephen LaFrance Sr., who built a regional drug store powerhouse with USA Drug, died earlier this month. He was 71. LaFrance started USA Drug in 1968 when he opened a single store here. Eventually the drug chain would include nearly 200 stores in six states, operating under a variety of banners.

Jean Coutu makes plans to move headquarters

LONGUEUIL, Quebec — The Jean Coutu Group says it will relocate its headquarters and distribution center in Longueuil, Quebec, to larger facilities that will be built in Varennes. The Canadian drug chain said construction of the Varennes facilities, which will total 800,000 square feet, is slated to start in 2014. The 3 million-square-foot site is

Rite Aid refinances debt, forecasts profit

CAMP HILL, Pa. — Rite Aid Corp. plans to refinance $500 million in debt and, in tandem with the transaction, is projecting net earnings for its fiscal 2014 first quarter, which would mark the drug chain’s third consecutive profitable quarter. Rite Aid has commenced a cash tender offer for its $500 million of 7.5% senior

Medi-Cal court ruling a ‘recipe for disaster’

SACRAMENTO, Calif. — The California Pharmacists Association (CPhA) has denounced a federal appeals court for refusing to review a ruling that lowered the state’s Medicare reimbursement rates. The association says that with 4 million new beneficiaries coming into the system under the Affordable Care Act, “this decision is a recipe for disaster.’’ CPhA’s outrage comes

Credit card settlement draws new fire from retailers

NEW YORK — A number of retailers and trade associations have rejected the proposed settlement of a class-action lawsuit over credit card companies’ swipe fees, while a group of 17 retailers have filed a new lawsuit against Visa Inc. and MasterCard Inc. The original suit was filed in 2005, and the proposed settlement received tentative

Welcome Narveson, welcome back Lafley

Two fresh faces have emerged — or reemerged — on the chain drug scene this spring, each bringing a sense of excitement and innovation to an industry suddenly in need of both. Perhaps the most intriguing aspect of their emergence is that each is a throwback to an earlier time, a period when innovation and

How retail pharmacy should approach the ACA

More than three years after it was signed into law and just over six months before its major provisions take effect, the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA) is as controversial as ever. The governors of 15 states oppose expanding Medicaid coverage — a key provision of the legislation, but one the Supreme Court,