NEW YORK First, the research only underscored what’s happening in America today — more and more Americans are turning toward self-care remedies as a way to curtail escalating healthcare costs. A June poll of consumers released by the Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation found that 55% of Americans were putting off health care because of costs; and 37% of all Americans (not just those 55%) are defraying healthcare costs by buying more over-the-counter and natural health solutions.
That is a tremendous opportunity for community pharmacy and convenience clinics both, and possibly a greater opportunity for smaller chains and independents — the box is smaller and the number of prescriptions per week is not as demanding, which enables that pharmacist to pro-actively engage more often with a consumer shopping OTCs to help make those ends meet.
And that means it’s not altogether a sales opportunity — people are going to need healthcare advice. Who better to guide them in making appropriate OTC choices in lieu of doctor’s visits or prescription medicines but the pharmacist and/or retail clinician?
There is an opportunity for branded suppliers here, as well, despite that sharper private label competition. First in messaging — communicating with that in-store health professional so that they have the most recent information out of which to base an OTC or supplement recommendation. But there’s also an opportunity in messaging that consumer — associating the company’s brand position with better value, be it better quality, better taste or in support of better research for conditions like breast cancer or diabetes.