FMI PHARMACY CONFERENCE

MIAMI - Retailers must consider numerous factors before putting nurse-staffed health clinics in their stores, said Randy Heiser, vice president, pharmacy, Giant Eagle, Pittsburgh, in a presentation at the Supermarket Pharmacy Conference of the Food Marketing Institute, Washington, this month.Giant Eagle has piloted one clinic, which it discontinued, and is developing a larger pilot, he said. "We want

MIAMI - Retailers must consider numerous factors before putting nurse-staffed health clinics in their stores, said Randy Heiser, vice president, pharmacy, Giant Eagle, Pittsburgh, in a presentation at the Supermarket Pharmacy Conference of the Food Marketing Institute, Washington, this month.

Giant Eagle has piloted one clinic, which it discontinued, and is developing a larger pilot, he said. "We want five to 10 of these out in the next year," Heiser told SN.

Among the considerations are customer demand; economic impact; criticisms from physicians and customers who do not want sick people in the grocery store; and picking the right clinic partner.

According to a Harris poll, shopper opinions on the clinics are split fairly evenly: 39% said they "definitely" or "probably" would use them; 29.5% said they "might or might not" use them; and 32% said they "probably" or "definitely" would not use them. "This doesn't say it is a bad thing," Heiser commented.

Other research has shown that the clinics add sales to the supermarket, especially to the pharmacy. Heiser presented numbers indicating total incremental gross profit to the pharmacy of over $50,000 a year.

"My personal opinion is, I think there is a lot of potential. Consumers will embrace the convenience of getting their acute needs taken care of and having the pharmacy right there, while being able to do their other shopping either before or after that clinic visit," he said.