CHAPEL HILL, N.C. — Kerr Drug this month took another step to advance pharmacy. The chain opened a store here with a room for pharmacogenomics, the study of how a patient’s genes affect medication efficacy.
The room is one of five in the store’s Community Healthcare Center for clinical pharmacy, another Kerr innovation. The other four rooms offer vaccinations, medication consultations, education/hearing services and diabetes services. There are also three consultation partitions in front of the dispensing pharmacy.
The store’s clinical pharmacists, in collaboration with the University of North Carolina Eshelman School of Pharmacy, plan to use pharmacogenomics to study how patients’ genes influence their response to Plavix. The results can lead to dosing revisions based on an individual’s unique genetic makeup. Pharmacogenomics can also predict if a new drug will be effective for a particular patient.
“I saw something today that I thought I would never see in my life,” Robert Blouin, dean of the pharmacy school, said at the store’s grand opening. “I saw a sign that said ‘Personalized Medicine — Pharmacogenomics’ in a community pharmacy. What an innovation.”
Noting that the store’s debut coincided with the intensifying focus on health care reform, Blouin said Kerr was establishing a business model that could entrench cognitive services in pharmacy nationwide. “This is a symbol,” he said.
Also new to the store is a community health resource coordinator. The full-tine coordinator will work on behalf of patients as an advocate and expert on Medicare Part D and durable medical equipment. He will also serve as a liaison to community health resources. He is certified as a counselor by the North Carolina Senior Health Insurance Information Program.
The outlet will also have Kerr’s first skin care adviser and a wellness specialist to recommend products from the chain’s Naturally Kerr selection of more than 3,000 natural/organic supplements, herbs, foods and beverages.
Customers, too, can get a free consultation at the hearing center. And a display from Orthera Inc. offers custom-fit orthotics at up to one-fourth the price of their typical cost.
Kerr chairman, president and chief executive officer Tony Civello said “small changes by degree, coupled with enormous leaps,” had resulted in “the most evolutionary and revolutionary pharmacy in America.”
“The community pharmacist, medication therapy management and the preventive approach to health care have been central to Kerr Drug’s business model from the beginning,” said Civello. “And that forward thinking is what we’re celebrating today. We are at the doorstep not only of a new store … but also of the future of community pharmacy.”
Luminaries from the industry attending the opening included Edith Rosato, senior vice president of pharmacy affairs at the National Association of Chain Drug Stores and president of the NACDS Foundation; NACDS senior vice president of member programs and services Jim Whitman; and Bruce Roberts, executive vice president and CEO of the National Community Pharmacists Association.
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