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Issue 10-28-2013

Health insurance exchanges continue to falter

NEW YORK — Problems have continued to plague the rollout of the health insurance exchanges under the Affordable Care Act. Millions of people have been unable to enroll in health plans through the online exchanges, while others have found they lack tools for comparing policies and determining coverage and network providers. That has been true

ACA emerges intact from federal budget battle

WASHINGTON — The Affordable Care Act emerged relatively unscathed from the bruising budget battle as Republicans in the House of Representatives buckled and a compromise proposal approved in both the Senate and House was signed by President Obama. The resolution ended a budget crisis that triggered a 16-day federal government shutdown that cost the economy

CVS starts customizing circulars for shoppers

WOONSOCKET, R.I. — CVS/pharmacy has brought the weekly ad circular into the digital age. In leveraging the data yielded by its ExtraCare loyalty card program, the company is now delivering a personalized version, dubbed “myWeekly Ad,” geared to individual ­shoppers. Customers who sign up for myWeekly Ad will no longer need to browse the paper

Walgreens hones daily living team

Shortly after the arrival of Alex Gourlay to assume his duties as president of Walgreen Co.’s daily living business at the start of the month, he announced adjustments to marketing and merchandising duties designed to simplify and coordinate the retailer’s strategic direction going forward.

California legislation a victory for Rx

SACRAMENTO, Calif. — California lawmakers have agreed that pharmacists should be considered health care providers, passing legislation earlier this month that authorizes pharmacists to provide additional ­services. The law, signed by Gov. Jerry Brown on October 2, becomes effective on January 1. Under the law pharmacists with specialized training will be recognized as “advanced practice

Walmart to deploy more small-format stores

BENTONVILLE, Ark. — Walmart plans to open more small stores than Supercenters in the coming year, company officials told analysts this month. That marks a first for the quintessential big-box retailer, which believes that it can wring more growth out of mature markets by taking more sales away from drug stores, dollar stores and ­supermarkets.

Kelly becomes chief merchant at Rexall

MISSISSAUGA, Ontario — Rexall Pharma Plus has added two seasoned executives to its management team. Mary Kelly has been named executive vice president and chief merchandising officer at the 436-unit chain, reporting directly to chief executive officer Frank Scorpiniti. Kelly comes to Rexall with 26 years of experience in both Canada and the United States.

Ritzman buys five Mast Pharmacy stores

WADSWORTH, Ohio — Ritzman Pharmacies Inc. has purchased five-store Mast ­Pharmacy. Ritzman picked up outlets in Sugarcreek, Berlin, Millersburg, Shreve and Wooster, Ohio, giving it a total of 25 full-service pharmacies in northeastern and central Ohio. The Ritzman locations include 11 pharmacies in Buehler’s Fresh Foods Market supermarkets. Ritzman acquired the Buehler’s in-store pharmacies in

Jean Coutu sets stock buyback, dividend

LONGUEUIL, Quebec — The Jean Coutu Group has announced a share repurchase plan and a special onetime dividend to return as much as $502 million (Canadian) in cash to ­shareholders. The share repurchase offer covers 22 million Class A subordinate voting shares without par value, at a price of $18.50 per share. The onetime dividend

Duane Reade taps Facebook

NEW YORK — Duane Reade is conducting a Halloween-themed social media marketing campaign to promote its store brand hosiery products. The “Boo-tiful Legs” contest calls for entrants to upload original photos of themselves wearing Duane Reade brand hosiery via a dedicated Facebook page. The contest will run through November 3. Ten first prize winners will

Rebranding of Diplomat reflects its broader scope

FLINT, Mich. — Diplomat Specialty Pharmacy has rolled out a new brand identity that executives say helps take the company in a new direction. “In our desire to fully serve our patients and our industry, we have become more,” co-founder and chief executive Phil Hagerman says about the effort that will see the company shorten

Rexall aims to help prevent the flu

MISSISSAUGA, Ontario — Rexall Pharma Plus is once again making it convenient for Canadians to receive flu shots, offering vaccinations at all of its stores. People can get the shots at any Rexall store at any time, with no appointment needed. “Pharmacies are the face of neighborhood health care that can provide quick and convenient

Walgreens offers financial services

DEERFIELD, Ill. — Walgreen Co. is introducing a suite of financial services called Balance Financial that are integrated with its Balance Rewards customer loyalty card. The program has been designed to provide low-cost financial services to customers, including those without traditional bank ­accounts. The Balance Financial services are built around a new Balance Financial Prepaid