In 2011 and 2012, the steady surge of blockbuster pharmaceuticals falling off the patent cliff became a stampede. An astonishing number of big-selling drugs that had established and sustained branded drug makers’ profits for years fell victim to the expiration of their patent lives and market exclusivity, roiling the pharmaceutical marketplace and redefining the pricing model for many of the most widely prescribed classes of medicines.
With health reform and health cost imperatives driving the need to find alternative, community-based ways to deliver more cost-effective follow-up care, the retail clinic model could be poised for a new round of rapid growth.
With new payment models beginning to change the way hospitals and health providers are reimbursed for their services, health plan payers scrambling to control unsustainable medical costs and health information technology linking up the patient care silos, a more integrated and patient-centric care model is emerging out of the chaos of a health system in transformation.
The success of Rite Aid’s Wellness store is in the experience. It’s welcoming. It’s engaging. And across various touchpoints throughout the store, it helps guide Rite Aid customers toward however it is they define “well.” That’s as much a function of design of the stores as it is the people and the products in those stores.
Ultimately, there’s no “retail pharmacy” without the “pharmacy,” and that’s true of any store that dispenses prescription drugs — whether it’s a small independent drug store, a nationwide chain, a supermarket or a mass merchandiser. But in many respects, Rite Aid is trying to make the “pharmacy” component of that phrase just a little bit bigger.
An often-heard remark in arguments between people is, “You’re not looking at the big picture.” But it’s often just as important to look not just at the big picture, but all the little parts that constitute it, especially if you’re the head of store operations for a major retail chain.
Drug stores, especially chain drug stores, brand themselves differently. But once customers step through the doors, they tend to only see slight variations of the same thing: the same shelves, too tall for mere humans to reach the top without a ladder; the same product categories every other drug store carries; the same pharmacy counter in the back of the store; and the same cash registers in the front. Some stores have carpets, others have tile floors.