MSI delivers specialized services, purchasing power

Medicine Shoppe International
General Manager: Terry Burnside
Corp. Offices: St. Louis
Number of Members/Stores: 790
Web page: www.medicineshoppe.com

In its 41-year history, Medicine Shoppe International has become one of the most widespread names in the retail pharmacy business, with franchises as far away as Taiwan, India and the Middle East.

But despite its heft at 800 Medicine Shoppe and Medicap Pharmacy stores, The Medicine Shoppe’s model differs significantly from that of traditional retail pharmacy chains. When pharmacist Michael Busch opened the first store in St. Louis in 1968, he envisioned a franchising system whereby pharmacists run the business rather than vice versa. And today, 40 years later, the Medicine Shoppe model has evolved to differ significantly from even Busch’s original vision. In fact, there is no one, set Medicine Shoppe model since the company began rolling out its specialized care center concept in recent years.

In April 2008, Medicine Shoppe opened its 100th Specialized Care Center for patients with diabetes, also called SCC-Diabetes, where diabetes patients receive education and counseling from pharmacists with certification as diabetes managers.

In October, MSI announced that Medicine Shoppe and Medicap Pharmacy stores would offer year-round immunizations for flu, pneumonia, shingles and some seasonal and travel vaccines through its Specialized Care Centers for immunizations, located in 350 of its stores.

The wide range of services earned MSI the highest ranking in J.D. Powers and Associates’ 2008 study of retail chain pharmacy customer satisfaction for the second year in a row.

“Our pharmacies excel in providing excellent service and knowledgeable consultation,” an MSI spokeswoman said.

The company would not divulge sales data, but the spokeswoman said the focus of its growth is on growing existing pharmacies.

Despite a string of store closures in recent years resulting from store operators not renewing their franchises, she said there had “not really” been any closures lately, but that growth had not come only from the United States.

“Most of our growth has come from our international stores,” she said.

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