ABC’s Good Neighbor Pharmacy operations wields growing national brand prowess

Good Neighbor Pharmacy
ABC chairman, president and CEO: R. David Yost
Corp. Offices: Valley Forge, Pa.
Number of Members/Stores: 3,000
Web page: healthinfo.mygnp.com

As parent company AmerisourceBergen merged more of its old Family Pharmacy network of independent drug stores and store-support services into its resurgent Good Neighbor Pharmacy operations and marketing umbrella, GNP has continued a rapid growth spurt and muscled its way into the top tier of national drug store brands.

In mid-decade, ABC’s managers opted to scrap the healthcare and drug distribution giant’s dual-brand approach to the independent pharmacy marketplace and pour the company’s considerable store-support, purchasing, private-label and marketing resources into a single brand, Good Neighbor Pharmacy. Since then, the GNP brand has become ubiquitous in many regions of the United States.

More than 3,000 independent drug store owners now embrace the GNP logo, making it part of their identity in thousands of locations around the country. For owner-operators with the panache to seamlessly combine their own penchant for personalized customer service and patient care in their communities with the operational, technological, logistical and marketing tools ABC makes available under the GNP program, it can be a potent retail combination.

The cream of those store support services goes to the company’s fledgling franchise pharmacy program, GNP Premier. Launched last summer, GNP Premier is designed to better leverage the sheer scale and national reach of GNP, while connecting its pharmacy members more directly with the full range of resources offered by GNP and its parent company.

GNP is now the nation’s seventh-largest pharmacy network, according to Drug Store News research. In 2008, ABC further boosted GNP’s clout with managed care provider networks by linking GNP stores with its other independent pharmacy customers under a unified umbrella. This so-called Good Neighbor Pharmacy Provider Network “consists of approximately 5,000 stores that have joined together for the benefit of being included in managed care provider networks,” said ABC chairman, president and CEO R. David Yost, making it “the third-largest provider network in the United States, behind only the two largest national retail pharmacy chains.”

“There’s strength in numbers,” Yost noted at the company’s 2008 annual gathering for its independent pharmacy customers.

Perhaps more significant, GNP pharmacies continue to vindicate the solid reputation independent pharmacies enjoy for personalized customer service. GNP ranked highest among all community pharmacies in a recent survey measuring pharmacy customer satisfaction from Wilson Health Information and Boehringer Ingelheim Pharmaceuticals. “Good Neighbor is rated No.1 in 27 of the 63 satisfaction measures,” Wilson reported, “including overall convenience, pricing and insurance, professional and store service, Web site issues and overall satisfaction.”

What’s more, the company’s Diabetes Shoppe program — now inextricably linked in many consumers’ minds with athlete Diabetes Shoppe spokesman “Iron” Andy Holder, a charismatic Ironman competitor with diabetes — has become one of the drug store industry’s premier marketing and merchandising programs for pharmacy-based diabetic care.

To better reach diabetic patients, GNP recently launched a new Web site, livingwithoutlimits.diabetesshoppe.com. In addition to providing links to other Web sites that help an individual with diabetes obtain the most current information on managing their condition, the site includes an area where people can write their story about how diabetes has impacted them.

In one more recent development, GNP allied this winter with influenza vaccination specialty company CSL Biotherapies to provide community pharmacists with a promotional immunization kit to help increase the awareness of the importance of immunizations and vaccines.

The materials, which consist of in-store posters, prescription bag stuffers, buttons, flyers and incentives for companion sales items, will help to trigger conversations between patients and pharmacists about the importance of immunizations, according to GNP.

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