SCHENECTADY, N.Y. - Blending business and nonprofit, Price Chopper here has partnered with Whitney M. Young Jr. Health Services to open a stand-alone Price Chopper-banner HouseCalls Pharmacy at Whitney Young's Albany Health Center in Albany, N.Y.
This is the fourth freestanding pharmacy owned and operated by Price Chopper. Two others are located in health centers and one is in a strip mall, according to Vincent Mainella, Price Chopper's vice president of pharmacy. The name HouseCalls is used for all of Price Chopper's non-supermarket pharmacies, he said.
Price Chopper has leased the space from Whitney Young, a federally qualified health center whose pharmacy was previously open only to its 18,000 patients. The Price Chopper retail pharmacy is open to the general public.
"By providing this service we are allowed to participate in the Federal 340B prescription drug program, which requires drug manufacturers to provide outpatient drugs to eligible centers at reduced prices," said Mainella.
This program accounts for about 35% of total scripts filled at the new pharmacy while the other business comes from Medicaid, Medicare and private payer scripts. Mainella told SN that although volume has doubled, profitability is a struggle, "as with any pharmacy today."
"Many stand-alones don't have chain pharmacy efficiencies because they are too costly to operate. If someone can step in and broaden that service, all parties benefit," said Jim Wisner, president, Wisner Marketing Group, Libertyville, Ill.
This year Walgreen Co., Deerfield Ill., opened its third specialized pharmacy in the Chicago area, stocking HIV/AIDS medications; Ahold USA's Stop & Shop banner, Quincy, Mass, is testing a freestanding pharmacy in a professional building in Bourne, Mass.; and Prairie Stone Pharmacy, partly owned by Lund Food Holdings, Edina, Minn., is operating in a health, wellness and technology test store owned by Best Buy, Minneapolis, called eq-life.