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Price Chopper pharmacies are giving away diabetes drugs

May 21, 2010 By: Nadia Category: Free Prescriptions, HealthCare, Medicine Advice, Medtipster, Prescription News, Prescription Savings

www.Medtipster.com source: www.timesunion.com – Cathleen F. Crowley, 5.19.2010

First, pharmacies slashed the cost of generic drugs. Then grocery stores such as Stop & Shop and Wegmans shot back with free antibiotics. Now Price Chopper is offering free drugs to people living with diabetes.
Competition for customers is fierce in the world of retail pharmacy, which is up against mail-order powerhouses.Price Chopper is the first grocery store pharmacy to provide free diabetic medications in the Northeast, according to Golub Corp., Price Chopper’s owner. Florida-based Publix Super Markets has a similar program.

“It’s a pretty business-savvy move,” said Craig Burridge, executive director of Pharmacists Society of the State of New York. “When you are dealing with a disease state that has other products that are not drug-related, you can make some money off of it.”

Price Chopper launched the program this week. Mona Golub, vice president of public relations and consumer services for the Schenectady-based supermarket chain, said it will build customer loyalty and address a major health problem in the community.

“From a business standpoint, Price Chopper’s interest is in establishing and solidifying a stronger relationship with our customers and becoming more of a comprehensive resource to consumers,” Golub said. “From a health perspective, the new Diabetes AdvantEdge program offers a comprehensive menu of resources and tools to those who are managing diabetes.”

Price Chopper, which has 70 pharmacies in six states, has already tailored programs for people with celiac disease by stocking more gluten-free products and providing gluten-free cooking classes. Golub said the store will continue to target niche groups.

For its diabetes program, Price Chopper will provide metformin, glipizide and glyburide free of charge to customers who have a doctor’s prescription for the drugs. The oral pills are generic drugs for controlling Type 1 and 2 diabetes, and are among the most commonly prescribed medications to diabetes patients. They are also relatively inexpensive.

Burridge said customers who use the program are likely to move all of their prescriptions to the grocery store’s pharmacy and buy accessories, such as blood testing supplies for controlling the disease, there also.

Consumers should review the cost of filling all their scripts before making a decision, said Burridge, who says consumers use one pharmacy for all their prescriptions.

“You don’t buy a car because you get free floor mats,” he said.

Price Chopper also will offer free one-on-one consultations with pharmacists and nutrition education for diabetic patients. Unlike a standalone pharmacy, the supermarket pharmacy has the advantage of offering a full range of products that diabetic patients need: sugar substitutes and low-calorie foods in addition to the blood testing supplies.

Golub said, “We will continue to look to connect meaningfully with groups of consumers that have unique needs that we can serve.”

Find a Price Chopper Pharmacy near you on www.medtipster.com.

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