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Chain pharmacies and independent pharmacies each have their advantages and disadvantages. Chains generally follow a top-down business model that requires all stores to be roughly identical in terms of their look and services, but they can offer those services to customers around the country. Independents’ services usually are limited to one or a handful of locations in a single geographic area, but they have more freedom in terms of their mix of products and services.
But what if a pharmacy could tap into the advantages of chains and independents? That’s the case at Medicine Shoppe International and Medicap Pharmacy stores. Strictly speaking, MSI, owned by Cardinal Health, isn’t a chain; it’s a franchising system that allows pharmacists to operate their stores how they see fit while using a respected international brand.
As one example, MSI has rapidly expanded its Specialized Care Centers, which address the needs of patients with such health conditions as diabetes by offering such services as diabetes care, home health care, durable medical equipment and immunizations. This, in turn, helps franchisees drive more traffic into their stores and diversify revenue streams beyond front-end goods and filling scripts. Cardinal Health — which in November 2010 appointed John Fiacco as VP of Medicine Shoppe and Medicap Pharmacy stores — is running a Specialized Care Center for heart health as a pilot program and plans to expand it later in the year.
Combating prescription drug abuse is another area where Cardinal Health and MSI have focused attention, such as through Cardinal’s GenerationRx program. In March, the Cardinal Health Foundation teamed up with the American Pharmacists Association to provide pharmacy students and educators, pharmacists and other healthcare professionals with tools and information to fight abuse of prescription drugs in a partnership announced at the APhA’s annual meeting in Seattle.