Meijer Launches Diabetes Education Initiative

Kate H. Gamble, Senior Editor
Published Online: Monday, November 7, 2011
Meijer has launched a chain-wide effort to increase its pharmacy expertise in the diabetes space by training more than 200 pharmacists as diabetes specialists, according to Effie Steele, clinical services manager for the Grand Rapids, Michigan-based company.

"A community pharmacist is an important first line of defense for diabetes and other diseases," Steele said. "So it was imperative that we placed more trained experts within our pharmacies for the benefit of our customers. Diabetes is a disease that has hit the Midwest hard, and there truly is an urgent need to take a much more active and aggressive role in combating it."

As a growing number of Midwesterners are being affected by diabetes, Meijer has moved to train and place a diabetes care pharmacist in each one of its stores throughout its five-state footprint. This extensive training will enable a Meijer pharmacist to provide an added element of expertise to those battling diabetes and to those looking to prevent the disease.

In a recent survey conducted by Meijer, more than 60% of respondents stated they would know what lifestyle changes to make if they were diagnosed with diabetes. However, 50% of respondents with diabetes admitted that they have not substantially altered their diets or increased aerobic activity in the face of the disease. The hundreds of diabetes care pharmacists now located in Meijer pharmacies are focused on bridging the information gap by offering support and information to those affected by diabetes and those hoping to avoid the disease.

This is the latest initiative that Meijer has launched in the fight against diabetes. Last year, the supercenter chain announced that it would begin offering Metformin, the most commonly prescribed treatment for Type 2 diabetes at no cost to individuals with a prescription. In 16 months, Meijer has dispensed nearly 700,000 free prescriptions of Metformin at a cost savings of more than $6 million to Meijer customers.

More than 26 million American children and adults currently have some form of diabetes. It is the seventh leading cause of death nationwide, and is particularly prevalent among older adults, affecting 27% of those aged 65 years and older. The Meijer diabetes care pharmacists will be able to counsel diabetes customers, discuss medication management, assist with testing and log books, and offer tips and tools to eat and live healthier. The diabetes specialists are also well versed in the NuVal nutritional score system employed within the Meijer grocery aisles, and will work in coordination with the company's team of Healthy Living Advisors and nutritionists to offer advice on diabetes-friendly foods and recipes.
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