Tuesday, January 06, 2009

Walgreens vs. Reality

Happy New Year!

I hope you all were able to enjoy some nice downtime with your families. I was once again fortunate enough to be on a beach that lacked wi-fi access. You can see my massive disappointment in the photo.

Let’s kick off 2009 with a good pre-holiday Wall Street Journal article that you may have missed: Pharmacies Fight Tough Battle on Generic Prices.

The article discusses “what some consider a generic-drug price war.” Yep, I am one of those “some” and am quoted in the article. No surprise to you, dear reader, if you saw CVS Escalates the Generic Price War in November.

But spare a thought for the poor chain executives who must convince shareholders that there is no price war. Walgreen's (WAG) senior vice president of pharmacy pooh-poohed the price war idea and then said: “I think that the pricing is competitive within certain therapeutic categories, and I think what you see is all of the retailers promoting their competitive price.”

Really? Then why did pharmacies have *no* promotion of prices until Wal-Mart (WMT) made its move? Why did Walgreens initially state that it would not match Wal-Mart’s “promotional drug pricing” but then switch course? (See “Walgreens Reacts” in Walgreens’ $4.33 Surrender to Wal-Mart.) Why is Giant Supermarkets now giving away generic antibiotics? Why is Walgreens now emphasizing cost-efficiency instead of growth?

On a related note, I think that I am not going bald. I think what you see is that I am follicly challenged.


FYI, there is some sad news in the blogosphere. Peerless pharma news junkie Ed Silverman is hanging up his T-1 over at the Newark Star-Ledger’s Pharmalot. Check out his eloquent goodbye and leave him a note. Ed will be moving to Elsevier Business Intelligence, which publishes The Pink Sheet and other pharma titles. Best wishes, Ed!


  1. Welcome back! Nice vertical leap.

  2. Astute, challenging and funny all at the same time. Great to have you back Adam and looking forward to your 2009 postings.

  3. Check out this story... I just don't understand why retailers kick and scream about serialization when it could help them manage their inventory. Guess something major has to happen before anyone reacts.


  4. I', really going to miss Pharmalot. Part of my morning coffee routine!

  5. I love the whole “Really?” part. Would make a great Seth Meyers “Really???” segment on Saturday Night Live.

    Glad you had a great holiday vacation. And here’s hoping we all have a better 2009 than 2008!

  6. Let me know when (if) you find a solution to being follicly challenged. I know there is little help for being bald!

  7. But Adam, you're wearing a WATCH!
    Guess it's really hard to let go of everything...

  8. Good eye, faithful reader! But it's my vacation watch...