Kerr Drug evolves retail pharmacy with revamped community health center concept

NEW YORK Pharmacogenomics in Aisle 1?

Not quite, but the continued evolution of Kerr’s Community Healthcare Center store concept certainly offers a glimpse into what role community pharmacy could play in the American healthcare system of the future — and it goes far beyond just MTM. Like the deal CVS Caremark announced last week with Generation Health, pharmacogenomics, the study of how genetics influence drug response, represents the new frontier of community pharmacy.

In fairness, pharmacogenomics has been a part of the specialty pharmacy business for some time; given the cost of many of these drugs, the investment in DNA testing to optimize therapy is a no-brainer. But, projects like Kerr’s pilot with UNC’s Eshelman School of Pharmacy, which will focus on patients taking Plavix, target the long-term savings generated by patients on traditional drug therapies getting the most out of those medications. These types of programs will be instrumental in demonstrating community pharmacy’s value beyond simply dispensing.

It is important to note that all of the stories about innovation in community pharmacy are not generated solely by the likes of CVS Caremark and Walgreens, though clearly they are the leaders. But the story of Kerr and its Community Healthcare Center concept are an important reminder of the innovation and leadership that also continues to come out of Chapel Hill, N.C.

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