The Demise of Small Pharmacies

February 8, 2020
The Demise of Small Pharmacies

Changing trends in how customers fill their prescriptions and how big pharmaceutical companies transform the healthcare industry have caused closures of regional supermarket pharmacy counters across the U.S.

Fewer customers visit pharmacy counters while grocery shopping because many order their medications by mail, often in bulk, or get them at lower costs at big pharmacies like CVS and Walgreens.

In addition to better deals on drug costs, big pharmacies offer healthcare “hubs” staffed by doctors and medical personnel to provide a wide range of medical services such as blood testing, diet seminars and yoga classes.

Video Spotlight: Grocery Stores Shutter In-Store Pharmacies

This post is based on the article, Grocery Stores Shutter In-Store Pharmacies, by PYMNTS, January 26, 2020, and the YouTube video, Grocery Stores Shutter In-Store Pharmacies by PYMNTS Media, January 27, 2020. Image source: Shutterstock / kurhan

Discussion Questions:

1. What are the operational challenges facing regional supermarket pharmacy counters?

Guidance: The operational challenges include (1) reduced customer demand because customers make fewer trips to pharmacy counters while grocery shopping; (2) higher drug costs due to limited connections to insurers and pharmaceutical companies; and (3) inability to  compete with big pharmacies that offer all-encompassing levels of healthcare services.

2. How are big pharmacies transforming the healthcare industry?

Guidance: Mergers and consolidations among pharmacies have provided big pharmacies such as CVS and Walgreens access to better deals on drug costs and a wider network of insurers and pharmaceutical companies. This is leading to the demise of regional supermarket pharmacy counters, and driving small mom-and-pop stores out of business.


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