Diabetes care: Drugstores the clear choice for patients

November 8, 2004

According to Information Resources Inc. (IRI), sales of Home Health Care Kits, including blood glucose monitors, grew 2.7% to $677 million over the 52-week period ending April 19, 2004. Simultaneously, all outlets--drug, food, and mass-merchandising--posted sales gains. Increasing 6%, food outlets outpaced the other two retailers.

The Hamacher Resource Group provided the information for this article. The Milwaukee company provides marketing services and business intelligence to the healthcare industry. Wholesalers, manufacturers, and retailers partner with Hamacher Resource Group to improve their profitability. For more information, visit www.hamacher.com.

OutletSalesGrowthMarket Share
 (000)  
Drug$616,3103.3%90%
Food$ 41,8006.0%7%
Mass-X*$ 18,8501.2%6%

According to Information Resources Inc. (IRI), sales of Home Health Care Kits, including blood glucose monitors, grew 2.7% to $677 million over the 52-week period ending April 19, 2004. Simultaneously, all outlets--drug, food, and mass-merchandising--posted sales gains. Increasing 6%, food outlets outpaced the other two retailers.

However, a shorter, 12-week analysis from January to April reports a different story for the drugstore segment; sales declined nearly 27% while sales in food outlets rose 12%. Was this just a poor three months for drugstores or a sign of things to come?

Frankly, with drugstores capturing 90% of Kit sales, these retailers have nowhere to go but down. Drugstore sales may continue to grow annually, but the rate of increases in other outlets will probably outpace pharmacy's performance. Over the next few years, look for food and mass outlets to expand market share at drugstores' expense. The medical nature of the category, however, will continue to position drugstores as the undisputed outlet of choice for customers with diabetes. Moreover, if the number of cases of Type 2 diabetes continues to rise, the need for professional advice in managing the disease will increase markedly, securing these retailers' advantage.

The diabetes epidemic

Age and obesity are the two major contributors to the diabetes epidemic. According to the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention, 20% of adults over age 65 have diabetes. An estimated 64% of the U.S. population is either overweight or obese. A recent study by the CDC is even more alarming. After a state-by-state comparison, evidence shows that unless the tide changes dramatically, one in three Americans born in 2000 will develop diabetes.

Consider the state-by-state upsurge among adults with diabetes. The numbers escalated so dramatically between 1996 and 2002 that the increase has earned the title epidemic. In 1996, four states reported that under 4% of the population was diabetic, 38 states reported rates of 4% to

More than 18 million Americans have diabetes, now the sixth-leading cause of death in America and responsible for more than 200,000 deaths annually, according to the CDC.

What's the drugstore's role?

Drugstores have the best opportunity to cater to their patients with diabetes because these customers generate 23% of their prescription business. The writing is on the wall. In fact, it's written in big bold letters: You need to cater to the needs of diabetic patients. One way to do this is to have a generous selection of meters and strips.

Here is a list of the top 10 meters, according to Hamacher. The sequence is based on wholesaler withdrawal data.

Your role should be one of an information provider to your patients with and without diabetes. Leave space within your diabetes category for information regarding the disease so that your customers can make themselves more aware of what's going on with diabetes and its treatment.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Also, create a designated diabetes section located close to the pharmacy to promote counseling opportunities. The placement signals that you care about diabetic patients and their health. At the same time, you'll be doing your part to help retain that 90% market share drugstores hold.

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