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Health Mart reaches 2,500 stores as it readies national ad campaign


SAN FRANCISCO Health Mart, the hard-charging independent pharmacy network owned by McKesson Corp., Wednesday celebrated a milestone: The addition of its 2,500th pharmacy. The announcement came roughly four years after the chain — which then numbered just 300 or so stores — unveiled plans to expand into a nationwide franchise pharmacy operation composed of McKesson’s strongest and most innovative pharmacy operators.

By any definition, that goal has been met. Health Mart now operates in all 50 states and, by its corporate parent’s reckoning, comprises the fourth-largest drug store network in the United States. The company has built a broad menu of clinically oriented health and wellness services for its customers, as well as a range of capabilities that give it some of the national branding, marketing and purchasing strengths of a corporate-owned pharmacy chain.

Among those strengths: A common and widely recognized national image at its 2,500 independently owned stores, third-party contracting and reimbursement services, centrally coordinated in-store merchandising programs, and growing clout in purchasing and promotions.

In line with that growth, Health Mart also announced it will launch a major national ad campaign at the end of the month. The campaign will debut with TV spots in 77 markets during the Grammy Awards telecast Jan. 31 on CBS, and will include multiple spots during the Super Bowl on CBS and NBC’s broadcast of the Winter Olympic Games from Vancouver. The campaign will conclude with ads during the Academy Awards telecast March 7 on ABC.

The TV ads will “highlight the personal care and services…such as diabetes counseling and testing” offered by Health Mart stores, according to the company. The campaign will feature 30- and 15-second commercials featuring a new Health Mart Town creative concept.

“Health Mart pharmacies focus on providing great customer service, as recognized by J.D. Power and Associates in 2009,” said Health Mart president Tim Canning. “This new advertising campaign highlights the emotional connection our pharmacists have with their customers, and it showcases that devotion to a national audience, while spotlighting the fact that Health Mart Pharmacies are practically everywhere.”

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