GRAND RAPIDS, Mich., Nov. 3, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- Citing an increased need by customers for support and education regarding the growing diabetes threat, 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, announced Effie Steele, clinical services manager for the Grand Rapids, Mich.-based supercenter, today.
"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 more and more Midwesterners are 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, as well as those looking to avoid the disease.
In a recent survey conducted by Meijer, more than 60 percent of respondents stated they would know what lifestyle changes to make if they were diagnosed with diabetes. Meanwhile, 50 percent of respondents with diabetes admitted 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 this 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 the most commonly prescribed treatment for Type 2 diabetes, called Metformin, at no cost to those 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.
Diabetes is a disease that has no cure. More than 26 million American children and adults currently have some form of diabetes. This disease is the seventh leading cause of death nationwide, and is particularly prevalent among older adults, with 27 percent of those 65 years and older diagnosed. 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 work in coordination with the company's team of Healthy Living Advisors and nutritionists to offer advice on diabetes-friendly foods and recipes.
To help launch this new initiative, all 197 Meijer pharmacies will be hosting a Diabetes Care Event on Saturday, November 5 from 11:00 a.m. until 3:00 p.m. local time. Blood Glucose testing will be offered at no charge and customers will receive a free pharmacy patient education and sample kit. The Meijer diabetes care pharmacists will be on duty and can assist with questions and explain Meijer's free Metformin prescription program.
About Meijer: Meijer is a Grand Rapids, Mich.-based retailer that operates 197 supercenters and grocery stores throughout Michigan, Ohio, Indiana, Illinois and Kentucky. As the inventor of the "onestop shopping" concept, Meijer stores have evolved through the years to include expanded fresh produce and meat departments, as well as pharmacies, comprehensive electronics departments, garden centers and apparel offerings.