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Out from behind the counter

The New York Times, October 24, 2011

As the Walgreen Company pushes its army of pharmacists into the role of medical care provider, it is bringing them out from their decades-old post behind the pharmacy counter and onto the sales floor. The pharmacy chain, based in Deerfield, Ill., and the nation's largest, has renovated 20 stores in the Chicago area and is converting more than 40 in Indianapolis to get the pharmacist closer to patients. Pharmacists in the revamped stores are being kept away from the telephone, where dealing with insurance coverage questions and other administrative tasks occupy 25 percent of their time, Walgreen says. "What we are seeing now is pharmacists should be using their knowledge to help consumers manage their medications appropriately," said Nimesh Jhaveri, executive director of pharmacy and health care experience at Walgreen.