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The Retailer’s Role in OTC

MORE OTC PRODUCTS on the shelves mean more choice for consumers and more opportunity for supermarket pharmacies. As the health care industry moves toward mandatory coverage, retailers are reviewing their marketing efforts. At Publix Super Markets, Lakeland, Fla., it's about building relationships with patients. Our philosophy is to know our customers, and we try to transfer that ideal to our pharmacy

MORE OTC PRODUCTS on the shelves mean more choice for consumers — and more opportunity for supermarket pharmacies. As the health care industry moves toward mandatory coverage, retailers are reviewing their marketing efforts. At Publix Super Markets, Lakeland, Fla., it's about building relationships with patients.

“Our philosophy is to know our customers, and we try to transfer that ideal to our pharmacy operations,” said Publix spokeswoman Maria Brous. “The same culture you find within our supermarkets is the same you'll find in our pharmacy department.”

Retail pharmacies see their future as a destination department that goes beyond simple prescription pickup. In the case of chronic conditions, such as diabetes, operators are building whole-store solutions.

“Diabetes alone affects up to 8% of our population. That's 24 million people across the country,” noted Mona Golub, vice president of public relations and consumer services, Price Chopper Supermarkets, Schenectady, N.Y. “If we, as a retailer, can contribute to the effort to help that 8% better manage their disease, then I think we do contribute to the success of health care in this country, one patient at a time, one consumer at a time.”