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Rite Aid stays closely attuned to customer health concerns.

CAMP HILL, Pa. -- From advice to diabetes patients on the importance of medication adherence to its promotion of free cancer screenings and to urging everyday shoppers to practice proper oral care, Rite Aid Corp. pharmacies and pharmacists are striving to maintain and improve the health of customers of its base of store, which spans 31 states and the District of Columbia.

Rite Aid has been recognized as a major health care player in the fight against diabetes, as evidenced by its support of the American Diabetes Association and its relationship with dLife, an online diabetes resource. A focal point of the drug chain's awareness campaign is an educational diabetes guide made available in its stores and on its web site. Furthermore, patients can learn more about the disease by contacting their Rite Aid pharmacist, who is specially trained in diabetes care.

In a more recent health care initiative, over 3,000 Rite Aid drug stores across the country have begun accepting advance reservations for seasonal flu shots to be administered by certified immunizing pharmacists in September or sooner, depending on vaccine availability.

More than 7,000 Rite Aid pharmacists are trained to administer vaccinations and are available to answer questions. Patients can receive a flu shot from any immunizing Rite Aid pharmacist, subject to state regulations. Rite Aid's year-round immunization program also includes vaccinations for such diseases as pneumonia, pertussis (whooping cough), hepatitis A and B and shingles.

"As the CDC [Center for Disease Control and Prevention] has recommended that everyone 6 months and older get vaccinated, more people will be looking to get flu shots this year. That's why we'll be accepting reservations for our patients," says Robert Thompson, executive vice president of pharmacy at Rite Aid.

"With more than 7,000 immunizing pharmacists at 3,000 locations nationwide, and an additional 800 flu clinics, getting a flu shot at Rite Aid has never been more convenient than it is this year," Thompson states. "This is just one more example of how the neighborhood pharmacist, the most accessible health care provider, plays an important role in the well-being of the community."

With summer temperatures at record highs in many regions of the country this year, proper skin care has taken on heightened importance. To help customers address that concern, Rite Aid has partnered with the Skin Cancer Foundation to promote smart skin care practices and raise skin cancer awareness. The national outreach program included distribution of a free skin care guide; potentially life-saving, free full-body skin cancer screenings performed by local dermatologists; and expert advice offered by thousands of Rite Aid pharmacists in the chain's stores.

Rite Aid is also hosting the Skin Cancer Foundation's Road to Healthy Skin Tour for the third year. The tour offers free full-body skin cancer screenings in two private rooms of a brightly decorated, 38-foot recreational vehicle that is winding across the nation through September.

Rite Aid's focus on skin care is part of its yearlong commitment to health and wellness. Each year, the retailer offers free information, answers and education on such concerns as allergies, oral health, weight management and heart health.

For example, Rite Aid and the American Dental Association (ADA) are promoting oral health in a national public health campaign supported by free educational guides found in the company's drug stores and online at www.riteaid.com, along with access to expert advice from pharmacists and gift card rewards for buying common oral health products.

The campaign, which started in late July and runs through late September, is intended to shine a light on the importance of good oral health. The retailer notes that a key focus of the effort is the importance of good oral health to overall health. For example, scientific studies suggest that oral health may be linked to heart disease and stroke, and good oral health is essential for people with diabetes.

"Oral health is a natural fit for Rite Aid because a bright smile is a billboard for both health and happiness--the two core values that drive Rite Aid's everyday selection of products and services," says John Learish, senior vice president of marketing.

For patients battling allergies, Rite Aid and the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology teamed up this spring to help allergy sufferers with free allergy guides made available in the chain's nearly 4,800 stores and on its web site.

Rite Aid, too, has forged success with the American Heart Association (AHA) to fight heart disease. The partnership includes support of the AHA's "Go Red for Women" movement in recognition of statistics showing that approximately one in three women dies from cardiovascular disease each year.

RITE AID

* HEADQUARTERS

30 Hunter Lane

Camp Hill, Pa. 17011

Key pharmacy executive: Robert Thompson, Executive Vice President of Pharmacy

Phone: (717) 761-2633

Fax: (717) 731-4737

Web site: riteaid.com

* TRADE CLASS--Drug chain

* PHARMACY RANK--4 in sales, 3 in pharmacies

* Full-year results (2/27/10)

Pharmacy sales--$17.43 billion (-1%)

Overall sales--$25.7 billion (-2.4%)

* Number of stores--4,759

* Number of pharmacies--4,759

* Number of states operating--31 plus the District of Columbia
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Title Annotation:ANNUAL REPORT OF RETAIL PHARMACY: THE CHAINS
Publication:Chain Drug Review
Article Type:Company overview
Date:Aug 30, 2010
Words:849
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