Meijer has begun an initiative to step up its pharmacy expertise in diabetes by training more than 200 pharmacists as diabetes specialists.

Meijer, diabetes specialists, Diabetes Care Event, diabetes, type 2 diabetes, Effie Steele, clinical services, Meijer pharmacies, Meijer diabetes care pharmacists, metformin, medication management, Health Living Advisors

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Meijer pharmacists take aim at diabetes

November 4th, 2011

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. – Meijer has begun an initiative to step up its pharmacy expertise in diabetes by training more than 200 pharmacists as diabetes specialists.

The supercenter retailer said Thursday that to help launch the chainwide effort, all Meijer pharmacies will be hosting a Diabetes Care Event on Saturday, Nov. 5, from 11:00 a.m. until 3:00 p.m. local time. Blood glucose testing will be offered free, and customers will receive a free pharmacy patient education and sample kit. Meijer diabetes care pharmacists will also be on duty to answer questions.

"A community pharmacist is an important first line of defense for diabetes and other diseases," Effie Steele, clinical services manager at Meijer, said in a statement. "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."

Meijer said that as a rising number of Midwesterners are affected by diabetes, the chain has moved to train and place a diabetes care pharmacist in each of its stores throughout its five-state footprint. The extensive training will enable a Meijer pharmacist to provide an added element of expertise to those battling diabetes, as well as those looking to avoid the disease, according to the company.

In a recent survey conducted by Meijer, more than 60% of respondents said they would know what lifestyle changes to make if they were diagnosed with diabetes. Meanwhile, half of respondents with diabetes admitted they have not substantially altered their diets or increased aerobic activity in the face of the disease.

The diabetes specialist and education effort is the latest initiative that Meijer has launched to stem the tide of diabetes. Last year, the retailer announced that it would begin offering the most commonly prescribed treatment for type 2 diabetes, metformin, at no cost to those with a prescription. Meijer said that in 16 months, it has dispensed nearly 700,000 free prescriptions of metformin at a cost savings of more than $6 million to customers.

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. They also can lend customers a hand in navigating the NuVal nutritional score system in the Meijer grocery aisles and work with the company's Healthy Living Advisors and nutritionists to offer advice on diabetes-friendly foods and recipes.

Meijer operates 197 supercenters and grocery stores throughout Michigan, Ohio, Indiana, Illinois and Kentucky.