Baby-stepping to well-care with free vitamins

The time was right for Schnucks to expand on its free antibiotics program and to add prenatal vitamins, said company spokesman Paul Simon. “We felt it was our responsibility to help when we could,” Simon said. “This is an extension of our free antibiotic and $4- and $10-prescription program.”

The retailer launched its prenatal drug initiative in January and, in announcing the effort, VP pharmacy Michael Juergensmeyer said Schnucks wanted to respond to a reality of the recession. “Due to economic considerations, many patients don’t refill prescriptions for chronic conditions, let alone take prescription prenatal vitamins for wellness care,” he stated.

On Jan. 18, the 103 Schnucks that operate pharmacies began providing 13 of the most-often-prescribed prenatal vitamins free for customers holding scripts. The prenatal vitamin effort fell under Schnucks’ Health and Wellness Program, which provides free generic oral antibiotics and a range of generic prescription drugs at a price of $4 for a 30-day supply and $10 for a 90-day supply. The company estimated that the pharmacy discount program has saved Schnucks customers more than $16 million since its inception.

Schnucks pharmacies addressed a range of concerns in their community outreach efforts this past year. In fall 2009, the retailer operated a program in select pharmacies across its Missouri and Illinois market area that provided H1N1 flu vaccination for an $18 service fee. The charge covered the cost of contracting Test-med Vaccination Services nurses. By working with the nurses, Schnucks could extend vaccination services to children as young as 3 years of age. Additionally, this past summer, Schnucks announced that it would partner with Atlanta-based SoloHealth, a leader in self-service health screening, to provide EyeSite vision-screening kiosks to 30 stores in the St. Louis area.

SCHNUCKS

Headquarters: St. Louis2009 sales: $2.5 billion% change vs. 2008: 1%No. of stores: 106No. of stores with Rx: 103*Avg. store size: 58,000 - 63,000 sq. ft.Rx sales: $206 million% of sales from Rx: 8.2%Sales per store: $23.6 million

* Includes one stand-alone pharmacySource: Company reports, Drug Store News

And in St. Louis, Schnucks opened a new format, dubbed Culinaria, which is positioned to serve the community there with gourmet food and a pharmacy. “There is a growing population in loft district downtown, and this allows customers there to get their prescriptions filled while they shop,” Simon said. “Also there are lots of workers downtown who can get their prescriptions filled as well.”

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