WASHINGTON, DC — February 1, 2005 — Technology, e-prescribing, the new Medicare drug benefit and business-building opportunities are just some of the highlights of the 18th Annual Supermarket Pharmacy Conference, April 9-12, 2005, New Orleans, LA. Hosted by the Food Marketing Institute (FMI), the conference will offer pharmacy representatives a global look at current health care issues and an opportunity to review the challenges to come.

The conference’s primary focus areas will be technology, health care and business-building opportunities. Several hundred representatives of retail and wholesale supermarket companies, educators, drug wholesalers, pharmaceutical manufacturers and other providers of health care products and services will attend.

“With challenges such as the implementation of the new Medicare drug benefit fast approaching in 2006, pharmacy issues have been brought to the forefront,” said Mike LeBlanc, director of pharmacy business development, Winn-Dixie Stores, Inc., and chair of FMI’s Pharmacy Services Committee. “This conference will allow attendees to prepare for these challenges, in addition to exploring the latest technology innovations at the conference’s brand new Technology Expo.”

The Technology Expo, an event where six major pharmacy management software providers will preview their next-generation products designed to improve operations and reduce costs, is one of the main features at the conference’s Technology Day. The day will offer retailers information about technology trends and the latest innovations affecting community pharmacy and health care at large.

Retail pharmacy IT and field staff are eligible to attend the entire conference for $250, when accompanied by corporate pharmacy executives paying the regular registration rate of $675, to allow companies to take full advantage of Technology Day.

The conference will feature sessions on the Medicare drug benefit, the changing pharmaceutical marketplace, leveraging the connection between the pharmacy and the whole store, competing in a changing prescription delivery environment, customer service and sales skills for pharmacists, and medication therapy management and compliance programs.

Business-building opportunities include appointments over two days where trading partners can review products and services and discuss ways to improve supermarket pharmacy sales and operations. Several events provide additional networking opportunities, including three evening receptions, a golf tournament and a riverboat cruise.

For more information on the Annual FMI Supermarket Pharmacy Conference, please contact Laurie Gethin (lgethin@fmi.org) or Danielle Smith (dsmith@fmi.org), or visit the FMI Web site at www.fmi.org.