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The Food Marketing Institute's Report from the 2004 Supermarket Pharmacy Survey has found positive changes across supermarket pharmacies. With these pharmacies expanding throughout the United States, companies are tackling pharmacist shortages, expanding Internet offerings, improving electronic prescribing (E-prescribing) capabilities, and developing new strategies targeting pharmacy consumers, the survey indicated.
In 2003, only 13% of food retail companies reported the need to reduce pharmacy hours because of lack of pharmacist staffing, compared with 33.3% in 2002. The survey respondents credited the decline to improved recruiting and training initiatives, better compensation packages, and a greater number of students graduating from pharmacy schools.
The Internet has become a source of growth for supermarket pharmacies. The survey showed that 87% of supermarkets have Web sites, with the vast majority (88%) offering pharmacy information, including hours of service, prescription refills, and general health information. E-prescribing capability also is expanding. Almost 20% of the survey respondents reported the ability to receive E-prescriptions from physicians, and an additional 44% anticipate this service to be in place by the end of this year. Furthermore, two thirds of the pharmacies promote E-prescribing to physicians in the marketplace.