CBI Scene Blog

The Retail Pharmacy Phenomenon – What it Means for Pharma Marketers

Posted by Kathleen Bonetti on Jul 25, 2013 4:23:00 PM

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“Honey, pick up a loaf of bread while you’re out getting your flu shot….” Retail pharmacies are not only convenient access points for a multitude of everyday needs; many have also fast evolved into destinations for complete wellness solutions. Because of this, pharmacy deserves renewed focus as a point of care. 

Yes, get a loaf of bread when you get your flu shot. Take care of your son’s sports physical and purchase his school supplies at the same place. Pick up a bottle of aspirin and learn about new advances in blood pressure treatment. Consult with the pharmacist about smoking-cessation techniques. Get your blood sugar checked and depending on the result, start right then and there on the path to diagnosis and ongoing treatment. Where else but in the pharmacy?

Community pharmacies ─ including major drug stores, supermarkets, mass merchants, and independents ─ are providing services that have taken their role in patient care to a new level. Literally millions of people walk through their doors every day; new health-focused experiences are driving even more traffic into retail locations. As they fulfill the needs of consumers who are increasingly more involved in monitoring and managing their health, pharmacies are becoming valuable channels through which pharma brands can reach a large and relevant audience.  

Smart pharma marketers recognize the power of pharmacy as an effective communication channel and have seen their brands grow as a result! Here are a few of the ways they’re doing it:

  1. Through information dispensers delivered at the store shelves:  Brands select space in the store section – health, personal care, pharmacy counter - where the largest potential audience of “self treaters” can be reached as they search for solutions
  2. At the prescription point of sale:  Brand messaging can be delivered with the prescription itself.
  3. In specialty health newsletters or magazines:  These publications are focused on specific disease states or general healthcare topics.
  4. In digital-screen displays and in brochure displays:  Digital screens can show brand messages while brochure racks provide printed resources.

The September 18-19th Point of Care Marketing Summit will focus on new and innovative ways to effectively reach patients and providers. Based on the key attributes of access, audience, care, and education, just consider these advantages of the pharmacy as a point of care: 

  • Access: 93% of American live within 5 miles of a community pharmacy and the average distance to a pharmacy is 1.26 miles.  Everyone can get to a retail pharmacy.
  • Audience: With the coming changes under the Affordable Care Act, pharmacies are uniquely positioned to become an “entry point” for the millions of new patients expected to be added to the healthcare system. The traffic is already significant ─ nearly 250 million people visit pharmacies weekly now ─ and this number will likely grow dramatically.
  • Care: The amount and kind of care being delivered in the pharmacy is changing at a rapid pace.  Immunizations and clinic services are just two examples of the type of care that can be administered through such professionals as pharmacists and nurse practitioners.  There are over 150,000 pharmacist vaccinators in the U.S., quadruple the number from just five years ago.  And the number of retail clinics is expected to double by as early as 2015. Clinics have the added advantage of being close to the point of prescribing.
  • Education: Pharmacies are the perfect setting to disseminate information about staying and living healthy, to reinforce messages about prescription products, and to provide patient education on the health benefits of immunizations and screenings.

Consumers are recognizing the many benefits of pharmacy beyond the services and product offerings of yesterday.  Since they are seeking advice here, it is the ideal environment in which to deliver timely information that will aid them in making important decisions about their health and wellness. 

Capture the potential by ensuring the consumer leaves the pharmacy with that loaf of bread, a flu shot and an increased awareness of your brand!

Join Rx EDGE Pharmacy Networks and DecisionPoint, the Point of Care Communications Association, at the Point of Care Marketing Summit to learn more about the power of the pharmacy and to discover new strategies for communicating with patients at all the point of care connection points.


Contributed by:   Kathleen Bonetti, Vice President of Marketing, Rx EDGE Pharmacy Networks.  Kathleen can be reached at kathleen.bonetti@rx-edge.com or 847-879-6036.

Rx EDGE Pharmacy Networks is a provider of pharmaceutical marketing solutions delivered in a nationwide network of over 30,000 pharmacies. Flagship products include Solutions at the Shelf™, information dispensers placed at the pharmacy shelf that deliver prescription product information and disease-state education, and HealthTrack™, an interactive patient adherence program. Rx EDGE is a business unit of LeveragePoint Media, East Dundee, Ill. For more information, please visit RX Edge.

point of care summit

Topics: Brand & Digital Strategy, Patient Access