The role of the pharmacy and how consumers can fill prescriptions has been in a state of transformation on multiple fronts and in many forms. Innovative apps, such as NowRx and Capsule are leveraging technology to take friction out of the system by offering more efficient prescription filling and convenient home delivery. CVS has partnered with start-up Curbside that allows consumers to order from an app and pick-up prescriptions without entering the store. And everyone has eyes on Amazon’s plans to disrupt the drug retailing sector.
Traditional brick and mortar stores have not been standing by idly, with the latest consolidation being Albertson’s recently announced merger with Rite-Aid. Together, they will operate approximately 4,900 locations, 4,350 pharmacy counters, and 320 clinics across 38 states. Albertson’s pharmacies will be rebranded Rite Aid, while continuing to maintain Rite Aid stand-alone sites.
The merger serves to strengthen Albertson’s market position on many fronts.It expands the geographic footprint key metropolitan areas such as the populous West Coast and Northeast markets, providing access to higher value pharmacy customers. Albertson’s is expected to increase investment in preferred relationships with EnvisionRxOptions, other PBMs, and regional payers to drive prescription growth, according to Market Watch.
Why It Matters
Retailers are continually seeking to increase customer acquisition, as well as to enhance cross-branding and loyalty programs to sustain growth and profitability, which mergers like this help achieve. While the transformation of pharmacies is not a new phenomenon, there’s a bigger picture consideration. More retailers will likely integrate and expand health and wellness categories into traditional food and grocery channels. As consumers’ access to healthcare changes, it will continue to alter the broader healthcare landscape.