Supermarket Pharmacies Improve Services
The Food Marketing Institute'sReport from the 2004 Supermarket PharmacySurvey has found positive changesacross supermarket pharmacies. Withthese pharmacies expanding throughoutthe United States, companies aretackling pharmacist shortages, expandingInternet offerings, improving electronicprescribing (E-prescribing) capabilities,and developing new strategiestargeting pharmacy consumers, thesurvey indicated.
In 2003, only 13% of food retailcompanies reported the need to reducepharmacy hours because of lack ofpharmacist staffing, compared with33.3% in 2002. The survey respondentscredited the decline to improvedrecruiting and training initiatives, bettercompensation packages, and agreater number of students graduatingfrom pharmacy schools.
The Internet has become a source ofgrowth for supermarket pharmacies.The survey showed that 87% of supermarketshave Web sites, with the vastmajority (88%) offering pharmacyinformation, including hours of service,prescription refills, and general healthinformation. E-prescribing capabilityalso is expanding. Almost 20% of thesurvey respondents reported the abilityto receive E-prescriptions from physicians,and an additional 44% anticipatethis service to be in place by the end ofthis year. Furthermore, two thirds of thepharmacies promote E-prescribing tophysicians in the marketplace.