Walgreens Refutes Mail Order Assumptions

Discussion
Jan 13, 2005
George Anderson

By George Anderson

Conventional wisdom says brick and mortar pharmacies are losing market share to mail-order businesses that fill 90-day prescriptions for a lot less than they do.

While the corner drugstore may be losing share to mail-order pharmacies required by some benefit plans, it’s not true that the prescriptions are less costly, says Walgreens’
chief executive David Bernauer.

In fact, Mr. Bernauer claims, the average cost of a 90-day supply of medicine is $15 less when his company handles it compared to mail order fulfillment.

According to a report in the Chicago Sun-Times, Mr. Bernauer said Walgreen’s is able to offer lower prices because its pharmacists are more diligent, even to the point
of calling physicians, to substitute a generic version of a drug when it is available.

Moderator’s Comment: What do you see as the state of mail-order versus in-store fulfillment pharmacy business? Is Walgreens’ correct in challenging the
notion that mail-order is necessarily cheaper? What does this mean for employers offer prescription plan coverage?

Even with this revelation by its chief executive, Walgreen’s has reiterated its plans to significantly increase its own mail-order business.
George Anderson – Moderator

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