Drug stores have been the most successful location for retail health clinics, a report by health care market research firm Kalorama Information finds.


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Retail clinic model works best in drug stores, report says

May 2nd, 2011

NEW YORK – Drug stores have been the most successful location for retail health clinics, a report by health care market research firm Kalorama Information finds.

Kalorama said Monday that its "Retail Clinics 2011: Market Assessment, Supplier Sales, Key Players and Trends" report pegs retail clinic sales at $733.4 million and, although the concept is being rolled out to a variety of locations, most of those sales are occurring at Walgreens, CVS and other drug stores.

Of the 1,344 retail clinics open last year, 1,084 were in drug stores, accounting for about 81% of the clinics, according to Kalorama.

"Clinics have worked in a variety of situations, but over the past few years we've seen more clinics open in drug store locations than in mass merchandise or food stores," stated Bruce Carlson, publisher of Kalorama Information. "It's logical in terms of one stop-shopping, because the drug store visitor is already a consumer with health care on his or her mind."

The total number of clinics nationally is small, the concept has been under fire from physician groups and some states, and the recession has complicated new business starts, Kalorama explained. Yet the researcher noted that the concept has staying power, particularly where it's associated with a pharmacy.

And athough retail clinic failures have occurred in other venues, they've struggled less in drug stores. The report found that the major drug store-based clinic operations, Walgreen Co.'s Take Care Clinics and CVS Caremark Corp.'s MinuteClinic, were responsible for 62% of retail clinic sales.

Management attention may be a factor, Kalorama said. "We still expect the concept to continue to be attempted in all locales, particularly by Walmart and other mass merchandisers," added Carlson. "But in these stores, the clinics are often third parties and one of many attractions in the store, while in drug stores they are critical to the operation."

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