Hold on tight in 2002

December 10, 2001

Prospects don't look good for 2002




Fasten your seat belts; it's going to be a bumpy ride. That seems to be the prevailing sentiment among pharmacists about how business conditions will turn out for them in 2002.

It's easy to see why. With 2001 shaping up to be a year of major upheaval—from the proposed Bush discount card to the tanking of the economy—is it any wonder that pharmacists are not as upbeat about their business outlook as they usually are.

Consider the many tumultuous events pharmacists had to respond to this past year:

• The turnover of administrations, which resulted in the shelving of many of Clinton's measures and the setting forth of new ones on the table

• The changeover of the Health Care Financing Administration to the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services

• The case of the Kansas City pharmacist whose alleged dilution of drugs gave his profession a big black eye

• The establishment of AmerisourceBergen, which made history of AmeriSource and Bergen Brunswig

• RxHub and SureScript, two networks to boost e-prescribing

• Discount Rx cards, including GlaxoSmithKline's Orange Card and Novartis' CareCard

• Preferred drug lists for Medicaid patients in Florida and other states

• A slowdown in approval of new molecular entities, which is one reason CVS is closing 200 stores shortly

• The anthrax bug, whose emergence left everyone scrambling

Will 2002 be as eventful a year? How are your peers preparing for a sputtering economy? Once again Drug Topics has picked the brains of independents, chains, and hospitals. A questionnaire was mailed to 750 independent and 1,000 hospital pharmacists who were selected on an nth name basis from Drug Topics' and Hospital Pharmacist Report's circulation lists. On the other hand, executives from drugstore chain headquarters, numbering almost 300, were chosen from the National Association of Chain Drug Stores' membership directory. When the survey closed in late October, a total of 293 questionnaires were returned from hospital pharmacists, 246 from independents, and 44 from chains. What follows are detailed results from these three groups.


Judy Chi. Hold on tight in 2002. Drug Topics 2001;23:31.