How supermarket pharmacies can leverage their combination of health and food

FMI supermarket pharmacy conference attendees learn what new pharmacy services deparment's priorities are for 2008.


So said Cathy Polley, R.Ph., VP, pharmacy services, of the Food Marketing Institute (FMI). Speaking to a packed audience at FMI's Supermarket Pharmacy Conference, held recently in Las Vegas, Polley, who joined FMI in September 2007, went on to outline how she and FMI's pharmacy services department intend to help attendees capitalize on their unique attributes. Dubbing the pharmacy services department a "home for pharmacy within their 'home' association, Polley outlined the following priorities:

Leveraging pharmacy in the store

In order to help create value and be relevant to its members, Polley said the pharmacy services department will increase its collaboration with key private and public sector organizations on key health and wellness issues. "Having come from the National Association of Chain Drug Stores world, this is something that is very natural for me," asserted Polley.

Polley said FMI also plans to educate lawmakers and policy makers about pharmacy's role. "We will communicate our positions routinely-not only to retail members, but to the supplier community too to make sure they know what is of importance and what is going to impact us in our stores," Polley insisted.

Emphasizing that pharmacy services will identify any unmet research opportunities that center around blending the food, nutrition, and pharmacy aspect that is unique to supermarket pharmacies, Polley said that initiatives will be developed that promote the value of pharmaceuticals, pharmacies, and pharmacists and that educate CEOs and senior management on key issues.

New initiatives

Yet another goal Polley revealed has to do with developing programs that promote the health and well being of our nation's families. "There is an initiative in our public affairs and industry relations committee called Family Meals. We know from the pharmacy side that generally if parents and children sit down together for family meals, it's a way of communicating. I will be involved with those initiatives as they move forward," she said.

An initiative to tackling the problem of obesity has also been identified. "We need to have an initiative to make a dent in this crisis that is affecting our children as they move into adult ages. I'll get involved in this," Polley said.

Finally, Polley announced that FMI plans to hold a conference in September in Baltimore that will feature strategic business appointments connecting food, nutrition, and pharmaceutical suppliers with top-level executive teams from the supermarket industry.