Travel clinics, immunizations take flight at Bartell Drugs

Bartell has been leveraging its travel clinics, which the company started operating eight years ago, now in 10 of its 59 stores.

SEATTLE — You can say Bartell is getting into the travel business.

Bartell, which had an estimated $353.4 million in sales in 2009, began operating travel clinics eight years ago and now has them at 10 of its 59 stores. They were the brainchild of pharmacists Jolene Kalmbach and Sharon Woodward, who got the idea after noticing that patients’ doctors often lacked necessary expertise in travel medicine and that commercial travel clinics were overbooked.

Customers can pay $50 for a consultation with the pharmacist and then pay individually for immunizations. In particular, Bartell’s clinics benefit from a provision in Washington state’s pharmacy regulations that gives pharmacists limited power to prescribe medicines and vaccines under special agreements with physicians.

“Seattle has emerged as a business-and-leisure travel hub to Asia, Latin America and Europe,” said Bartell Drugs clinical care coordinator Rachel Allen. “The international travel clinics have become a signature service that not only supports awareness of our overall vaccination program but [also supports] sales of travel-related items throughout the entire store.”

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