A&P Links PBM to Wellness

A&P, working with 4D Pharmacy Management Systems, Troy, Mich., will offer employer group prescription drug benefits that will also tie into the retailer's Live Better! Wellness Program. Sources said that while it is unusual for a chain of A&P's size to get into the pharmacy benefits management business, it is even more unique to tie PBM offerings into the grocery company's wellness

MONTVALE, N.J. — A&P, working with 4D Pharmacy Management Systems, Troy, Mich., will offer employer group prescription drug benefits that will also tie into the retailer's Live Better! Wellness Program.

Sources said that while it is unusual for a chain of A&P's size to get into the pharmacy benefits management business, it is even more unique to tie PBM offerings into the grocery company's wellness initiative.

“With our new PBM services, not only will customers have access to our over 250 pharmacies, but they will also receive the numerous benefits of membership to our Live Better! Wellness Club program, which provides discounts on prescription drug alternatives, vitamins and other popular over-the-counter items and even a range of grocery products that promotes more healthful eating,” said Carol DiNicolantonio, A&P's senior director of pharmacy.

Many PBM offerings are in the market, including some from retailers, noted Bob Dufour, until recently a top pharmacy executive with Wal-Mart, and now a consultant with Ernst & Young, New York.

“What is significant is the way they are doing it. They are offering PBM services that tie nutrition in with pharmacy. That is a unique niche that supermarkets have. You cannot get that combination at a traditional drug store. It's very important for the industry to take note of it. I think other supermarket chains will follow,” Dufour said.

“We all know that supermarket pharmacies are well positioned to help patients with diet and nutritional programs,” said Bruce Kneeland, president/consultant, Pharmacy Connections, Royersford, Pa. “I am eager to see what these two companies come up with and how these programs will be accepted by consumers and payers.”

The PBM services and marketing efforts will be provided by 4D Pharmacy Management Systems, with fulfillment out of the A&P pharmacies. Customers will have a choice of mail-order or in-store prescription services.

Plan members will have the option of getting 90-day supplies of maintenance medications at pharmacies of A&P and its various banners, where health screenings, complete diabetic supplies, and patient counseling and information services will be offered. The Live Better! Wellness Program features discounts on generic drugs, over-the-counter items and a wide range of grocery products including fruits, vegetables and other fresh foods that promote healthful lifestyles and diets, according to the retailer.

“Being in the supermarket environment, we are able to interact with our customers even when they are not filling a prescription. We can also help them make the right food choices for themselves and their families and focus on preventative care,” DiNicolantonio said. In addition, Live Better! Wellness Program pharmacists will provide on-site visits to employer groups to assist with health and prescription drug education.

“This partnership brings our pharmacy offerings to the next level with dynamic services, which provide our customers with the information and benefits they need to make healthy decisions in all aspects of their lives,” added Rebecca Philbert, A&P's senior vice president, merchandising, and supply and logistics.