Hispanic surge bodes well for retail pharmacy

BY Michael Johnsen

The U.S. Hispanic population is projected to reach 128.8 million by 2060, or more than 30% of the U.S. population. This could bode especially well for purveyors of health products and services in the pharmacy setting. According to PricewaterhouseCoopers’ Health Research Institute, perhaps more than any other consumer group, Hispanics are cost-conscious, mobile savvy and do not necessarily seek health care within the traditional $2.8 trillion U.S. healthcare system.

(Click here to view charts and additional data.)

In fact, Hispanics are less likely than other consumers to use a doctor as their primary caregiver when facing a non-emergency condition (66% vs. 76%). The key attribute that makes the Hispanic demographic so critical to retail pharmacy operators is the fact that Hispanic health consumers are open to means of care that are an alternative to seeing a doctor. This means they’re not only shopping the OTC aisles more often, but Hispanic consumers also are more likely to frequent retail clinics.

According to the HRI Hispanic consumer survey, 57% of Hispanic consumers have utilized a retail clinic at least once, vs. 45% of non-Hispanics. “They may postpone or delay going to see a physician, but they may be open to seeking alternatives or alternative sources of care, whether it’s at a retail clinic or at a pharmacy,” said Frank Lemmon, strategy and operations principal for PricewaterhouseCoopers. There could be a number of factors driving that decision, Lemmon said, such as the value associated with the healthcare visit or the credence associated with pharmacy. “Because pharmacies are so prevalent in many Latin American countries, there’s more trust in the pharmacy and the pharmacist to treat their condition than there is in any sort of medical institution.”

On average, cost is most important to Hispanics when it comes to care, while quality is most important for non-Hispanics. Approximately 46% of Hispanics vs. 35% of non-Hispanics consider cost most important; 53% of non-Hispanics vs. 42% of Hispanics consider quality most important.

Hispanics also are more likely with download coupons to a phone than other consumers (25% compared with 17%). PwC suggested this might be an opportunity for pharmaceutical companies and retail pharmacies to improve medication adherence by making prescription discounts accessible by mobile devices.

Overall, more Hispanics than non-Hispanics use social media, mobile apps and Internet searches to find information about their medical care, and Hispanics are more likely to be influenced by the information when making decisions about care.

According to PwC research, nearly one-fifth of Hispanics said they are already using an app or the Internet to make medical appointments. Another 31% said they would be very willing to. “For many of them, mobile is their only access to the Internet, so it’s the way they’re using technology to connect [to] social groups,” Lemmon said.


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Which area of the industry do you think Amazon's entry would shake up the most?

Showcasing pharmacists’ expanded role

BY Jim Frederick

Aaron Jennissen of Thrifty White Pharmacy, Dan Miller of Rite Aid, and TJ Johnsrud of Nucara Management Group, pictured above, participated in a panel on Sunday to discuss innovative pharmacy practice models.

BOSTON — “A drug store is not just for sick individuals. It’s the place to come to showcase wellness and promote health.”

That assertion, made by Dan Miller, SVP pharmacy operations for Rite Aid, summed up the shift taking place in pharmacy both at Rite Aid and throughout the retail pharmacy industry. Miller’s remark came during an Insight Session on innovative pharmacy practice models at NACDS Total Store Expo on Sunday. The panel discussion also included presentations from Aaron Jennissen, VP pharmacy operations for Thrifty White Pharmacy, and TJ Johnsrud, a pharmacist and president of Nucara Management Group.

Miller talked about Rite Aid’s Wellness store concept, which is designed, in part, to “showcase what a pharmacist can do around professional services.”

Rite Aid also created “a new position,” in its stores, he explained — the Wellness Ambassadors, who help customers in the aisles navigate health-and-wellness product offerings and provide guidance. Miller said those ambassadors serve as “a bridge between the consumer and our Pharmacists to help them understand [healthier choices].”

The goal is “to improve the customer experience, but also to differentiate that experience they have in coming to a Rite Aid store.” Those Wellness Ambassadors, he added, also help drive front-end sales.

Jennissen discussed Thrifty White’s Care Coordination program, through which the chain partners with local hospital systems on behalf of post-discharge patients to keep them on track with their medication regimens and out of the hospital through pharmacist interventions and oversight. The program has improved medication adherence and reduced hospital readmissions.

“Historically, pharmacists were able to dedicate about 15% of their time to what we would call MTM or direct patient care services,” Johnsrud said in a separate presentation. Achieving true success in shifting the pharmacy practice model and aligning it to the new health paradigm, he noted, would mean boosting that percentage by a factor of two or three.


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R.Chavis says:
Sep-04-2014 10:56 am

Hi Guy,

Thanks for visiting Drug Store News. Could you please send an email to [email protected] so I can try to further assist you?

Ryan Chavis
Online Editor, Drug Store News

Aug-29-2014 02:01 pm

I am no longer with Target, yet see [email protected] still in my profile somehow. Any idea why other than maybe you linked my CE subscription? I'm having issues whenever I try to use my [email protected] login as my username.



Which area of the industry do you think Amazon's entry would shake up the most?

‘Healthcare renaissance’ transforms attitudes

BY Jim Frederick

Rite Aid chairman and CEO, and new NACDS chairman, John Standley (pictured above) discussed retailer-supplier partnerships during Sunday’s opening business session. 

BOSTON — Chain pharmacy is roiling the nation’s troubled healthcare system with “disruptive innovation” and bringing new, more accessible retail health-and-wellness solutions to consumers, NACDS president and CEO Steve Anderson told attendees during the first part of the business session at the NACDS Total Store Expo Sunday.

Opening the general business session, Anderson praised the contributions of pharmacy retailers and suppliers to the nation’s healthcare system, and said the industry faces enormous opportunities as health care shifts to prevention, patient-centered care and greater accessibility. “Health and wellness — and patient-focused retailing — have gone mainstream,” said NACDS’ top executive. “The opportunity is greater right now than ever before. If this moment in time cannot be called a renaissance of health, wellness and consumer-focused retailing, then no time in our history will ever bear that name.”

Underscoring that, Anderson pointed to NACDS’ most recent “Victory Vision” opinion research survey of likely voters, conducted in July. “We asked whether pharmacies should be allowed to offer a variety of services: vaccinations … checking blood pressure … treating common illnesses through a nurse practitioner or physician’s assistant … administering rapid tests for flu and strep. In just one year, the percentage of people who support expanded roles for pharmacies went up,” he said.

“The acceptance was already high. But thanks to the activities within your companies, and thanks to NACDS telling this important story, today it’s even higher.”

The survey’s findings reaffirmed the importance that consumers place on their interactions with pharmacists.  For instance, said Anderson, roughly half of respondents had spoken to a pharmacist about a prescription drug or OTC product over the past 12 months, and “more than 7-in-10 said a pharmacist’s recommendation on an OTC is important to them.” In addition, he said, 3-of-10 consumers surveyed had spoken to a pharmacist about a personal health question. “And — in a powerful statement about the relationship between the pharmacy and the front end — more than half said they purchased food or groceries at a pharmacy,” Anderson added.

A transformation in attitudes toward pharmacy is also underway in government, said Anderson. “Something very interesting is going on in Congress,” he noted. “There seems to be a race to capture the flag of healthcare innovation. And NACDS is positioning the health-and-wellness solutions of chains and suppliers as part of it.”

Value of partnerships
Taking the stage after Anderson, Rite Aid chairman and CEO, and new NACDS chairman, John Standley focused on retailer-supplier partnerships. Forging new and stronger alliances with its supplier partners was critical to Rite Aid’s ability to regain its momentum and to drive new health and wellness innovations, Standley said. And in the midst of a transforming health system and a new, more dynamic role for retail pharmacy, those partnerships will be key to the success of every pharmacy retailer and supplier, he noted.

“Healthcare delivery is undergoing historic change, placing unprecedented demands on our business while presenting enormous opportunities to grow,” said Standley. “As an industry, we have a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to further support the health and wellness of our communities.”

That transformation “is already taking place,” Standley told TSE participants, “as additional pharmacies offer services like medication therapy management, immunizations and retail clinics. And though we’re supporting the health of our patients in more ways than ever before, … there’s even more we can do heading forward.”

That makes retailer-supplier alliances more critical than ever, he added. “The Total Store Expo gives us the opportunity to change by building stronger partnerships that fuel innovation throughout our companies. At the heart of this process is the relationship between suppliers and retailers.”

Those “supplier-retailer partnerships,” Standley added, have been “critical … to Rite Aid” as it transformed its business over the past four years.”

“Our transformation is unique, but it also has similarities to what’s occurring at other retailers throughout our industry,” he added. “As we continue this transformation, it must be said that NACDS events like the Total Store Expo have been vital to our company’s evolution, and have contributed to the culture of collaboration and innovation we share today with our supplier partners.”


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Aug-25-2014 05:14 pm

As both major speakers wisely noted, the retail industry does, indeed, have a huge opportunity to positively transform healthcare, not just domestically but internationally. Five large companies have taken an early lead-- two traditional retailers and three, later arrivals: Walmart, Walgreens Alliance Boots, Apple, Google and Amazon. Walmart, and to a lesser degree, WAG/WAB, have one advantage: both have physical, community-based, retail-point--of-entry access, in addition to online entry---something that still counts in the hands on world of healthcare. Apple and Google both have global healthcare aspirations, notwithstanding public statements to the contrary, but Apple has taken the digital market lead and won the early allegiance of physicians, medical device companies and mobile customers. Amazon has online purchasing, supply chain management and delivery capabilities that the others still don't have, but not yet a vision of whether and how to play in the healthcare space. Rite Aid was a leader in recognizing and applying some of the capabilities of telemedicine technology, but is not a national force. Target completely missed the boat in the early 2000s. It had an unfettered opportunity to be the first national retail mover in the healthcare reform field, leveraging its broad customer demographics, its in town witness to what would become MinuteClinic and its creative marketing. Additionally, Target missed the opportunity to use its banking subsidiary and multimillion-issued smart cards to piggyback electronic medical records on the magnetic strip. Finally, it missed its electronic claims and money processing capabilities to clear medical transactions before customers left the store. The big red card, with one's up to date, online, medical history, could have been the credit card customers, patients and physicians would always want to keep-- before cloud storage and online processing came along. (In hindsight, Target's bank cards and management would have failed the sine qua non test for healthcare: privacy and security.) Ron Hammerle Chairman and CEO Health Resources, Ltd. Tampa, Florida



Which area of the industry do you think Amazon's entry would shake up the most?