We are sure you have seen the news and read the articles regarding Amazon’s intent on breaking into the pharmacy business. This announcement has many vested in community pharmacies, small and large, asking if they can compete with this giant and other growing mail order and online style pharmacies in general. A recent J.D. Power survey¹ (2016) on pharmacy customer satisfaction found that both mail order and brick-and-mortar pharmacies are equally filling needs. Customers are turning to mail order for the convenience, and the study also showed they are turning multiple errands into one at local pharmacies – picking up groceries and getting their flu shots all while retrieving their meds. For now the answer is yes, local brick-and-mortar pharmacies can still compete on service and patient touch, but for how long?
Amazon has talked about moving into pharmacy for a while now, started with online sales of OTC and it appears to be inching closer to putting online Prescription drugs plan into place. It recently hired a general manager to formulate a strategy for breaking into the multibillion-dollar pharmacy market. There is speculation surrounding the 450 Whole Foods grocery stores the company recently acquired; those locations could easily be outfitted with pharmacies. However, 450 stores is a trivial number compared to the existing 23,000 independent retail pharmacies and over 40,000 locations of the chain store segment, including Walgreens and CVS. The real opportunity