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Issue 06-16-2014

CMS delays shift to new FULs

ARLINGTON, Va. — The National Association of Chain Drug Stores has hailed the government’s postponement of final federal upper limits (FULs) for Medicaid prescription reimbursements based on average manufacturer price (AMP). Final AMP-based FULs under the Affordable Care Act, which were to take effect in July, will be delayed to provide “sufficient time” for implementation,

Walmart likes what it sees in small-format stores

FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. — Walmart’s small stores are thriving, according to Bill Simon, the company’s U.S. president and chief executive officer. “Neighborhood Markets and Walmart Express stores have been a big hit, providing fast, easy access whenever and however customers want it,” Simon said earlier this month during the Walmart annual shareholders meeting at the the

Burwell confirmed as HHS chief

WASHINGTON — In a bipartisan show of support, the Senate confirmed Sylvia Mathews Burwell as the new secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) in a 78-17 vote. Although all of the no votes were cast by Republicans, two dozen members of the GOP joined with 52 Democrats and two independents in

Role of Rx in health care scrutinized at CACDS

VANCOUVER, British Columbia — A session billed as “The Big Debate” formed the centerpiece of the Canadian Association of Chain Drug Stores (CACDS) 2014 Annual Conference. The motion being debated was: “Be it resolved that pharmacy is a key member of the health care team.” The protagonists in the debate, staged in parliamentary style, were

Overhaul set for HealthCare.gov

WASHINGTON — HealthCare.gov is getting a makeover. The Obama administration is eliminating major parts of the online health insurance exchange to avoid a repeat of the problems that marked its launch last October, the Wall Street Journal reported, citing presentations to insurers and interviews with government officials and ­contractors. The overhaul and its tight schedule

CVS Caremark rolls out Specialty Connect

WOONSOCKET, R.I. — CVS Caremark Corp. says it has reinvented the specialty patient experience with Specialty Connect, a prescription services program. Leveraging CVS Caremark’s retail and pharmacy resources, the program offers patients “unsurpassed choice and flexibility in how they access their specialty medications” while providing centralized expert clinical support, according to the company. Historically, CVS

Guidance for fiscal year cut by Rite Aid

CAMP HILL, Pa. — Though same-store sales rose in May, Rite Aid Corp. lowered its fiscal 2015 forecast, citing factors affecting pharmacy margins. For the five weeks ended May 31, comparable-store sales advanced 3.5% year over year. The gain continued Rite Aid’s comp-store sales growth trend this year. In the front end, same-store sales edged

Cantrell joins Shopko as senior VP

GREEN BAY, Wis. — Pharmacy industry veteran Michael Cantrell has been named senior vice president of retail health at Shopko Stores Operating Co. At the general merchandise retailer, Cantrell will provide strategic direction for the pharmacy, optical and Rx Care departments. He reports to Peter McMahon, chief executive officer of Shopko. A registered pharmacist and

Bishop departs from Walgreens

OAK BROOK, Ill. — Walgreen Co. executive Rachel Bishop has joined TreeHouse Foods Inc. as senior vice president and chief strategy officer. In this role she becomes a key member of the TreeHouse executive leadership team and reports to Sam Reed, chairman, president and chief executive officer. She is based at the TreeHouse corporate headquarters

Rx abuse legislation receives endorsements

WASHINGTON — The National Association of Chain Drug Stores and the Healthcare Distribution Management Association are among organizations supporting House legislation to address the growing prescription drug abuse trend while preserving patients’ access to their medications. NACDS has written to the bipartisan leadership of the House Energy and Commerce Committees’ health subcommittee to reiterate its

Sam’s Club offers security innovation

NEW YORK — Sam’s Club is introducing a new cash-back program on a credit card with chip-enabled technology to provide more security from fraudulent activity. Due out on June 23, the Sam’s Club 5-3-1 cash-back program on its cobranded MasterCard, issued by GE Capital Retail Bank, enables members to earn 5% cash back on fuel,

Annual meeting shows Walmart at its best

Anyone connected, even remotely, to retailing should be required to attend at least one Walmart Annual Shareholders Meeting. To label this experience unique is to state the obvious — and seriously understate its significance. As most retail participants know by now, a Walmart annual meeting differs dramatically from all others. It’s bigger, bolder, more daring,

NACDS helps secure a win for pharmacy on FULs

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services’ (CMS’) decision to hold off on finalizing state use of federal upper limits (FULs) for reimbursement to pharmacy providers that fill prescriptionsfor Medicaid beneficiaries is a significant achievement for the National Association of Chain Drug Stores and its allies. In a bulletin issued last November, CMS had advised

Confluence of factors rein in sales of vitamins

A question heard repeatedly at the National Association of Chain Drug Stores Annual Meeting in April was, “What is wrong with vitamins?” After four or five years of high-single-digit annual growth, with only minimal disruptions during that time, most retailers are seeing sales that are flat and even declining. Being that vitamins and nutritional supplements