Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Pharmacy News Roundup: February 2010

Time for a look at news stories about the pharmacy industry that slipped through the cracks.

In this edition, we take a look at Rite-Aid’s (NYSE:RAD) golden goodbye to Mary Sammons, how independent drugstore owners are trying to “cash in on health care reform" (not my words!), the forthcoming windfall (perhaps) from generics at CVS Caremark (NYSE:CVS) and Walgreen (NYSE:WAG), and Wal-Mart’s (NYSE:WMT) plans for cutting as many as 13,000 of what it somehow has the audacity to refer to as "jobs" from its corporate payroll.

Rite Aid’s expensive changing of the guard
Michele Leder of the wonderful footnoted.org digs into Rite-Aid’s 8-K filing and discovers some eye-opening financial details behind the departure of Mary Sammons. “Basically, Rite Aid will be paying for two CEOs for the next year, even though starting in June, Standley will be the only one with the actual title. Meanwhile, Rite Aid’s long suffering investors (and apparently its long suffering employees judging by some of those comments in our earlier post) seem to be getting the short end of the stick on this one.” DOH!

Drugstore Owners Look to Cash in on Health Care Reform
I don’t know Ms. Kramer, but she makes me look like a soft-spoken cheerleader for the NCPA. “Currently, there are measures that have been introduced in Congress that will actually increase the cost of prescription drugs while only benefiting the prosperous owners of these independent pharmacies.” I even felt compelled to post links to Drug Channels posts to clarify some of her facts. POW!

CVS May Get Earnings ‘Windfall’ From Lipitor Generics
Business Week quotes investors who expect a profit windfall from the coming generic switchover of products such as Pfizer’s Lipitor, Abbott Laboratories’ TriCor, and a generic version of Plavix (from Sanofi-Aventis and Bristol-Myers Squibb Co.). Readers of my pharmacy report know that this superior profitability will be threatened as health care payers implement new payment benchmarks and pharmacies engage in a generic prescription price war. BOOM!

Wal-Mart Cuts Over 13,000 of What It Calls Jobs
"Obviously, it is a sad day whenever we have to let go of any of the people we have dehumanized so thoroughly that we can barely muster the will to describe them as employees," Wal-Mart CEO Mike Duke told reporters. Here's a helpful breakdown of Wal-Mart's employment from the article:



The pharmacist pictured above certainly has good taste in websites, don't you think?


  1. I'm not sure where everyone is getting the information that independent pharmacies make lots of money. Have you noticed that the number of independent stores is greatly diminishing due to unfair competition from chains, Pbms, mail-order and Medicare/Medicaid? I know my store is on the brink of shutting down as I'm sure many others are.

    The large salaries paid for pharmacists is misleading also. Walgreens, Walmart and CVS have inflated the salaries of pharmacists, not independent pharmacies. We havee to pay these salaries in order to get a pharmacist these days. The chain stores started inflating salaries to get people to work for them. They even offer large sign-on bonuses.

    Please look into these alligations and clarify if possible. Independents are on their way out I'm afraid.

  2. Dr Fein,
    I enjoy your column and appreciate the insight you give. I am not a pharmacy owner and hardly doubt that the Independent pharmacy owners which are a dwindling minority brought down health care reform and possess nearly the clout referenced in the article.

  3. The WalMart article is my favorite!

  4. If you've worked in a Walmart pharmacy, then you know the article is not a joke. I wasn;t sure whether to laugh or cry.