How independents can create the best diabetes department


Stockchecker on diabetes


How independents can create the best department for their diabetes patients

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

November is National Diabetes Month. Diabetes has reached epidemic status. The number of U.S. adults diagnosed with diabetes increased 49% between 1990 and 2000. In 1990, only four states reported an adult diabetic population greater than 6%. By 2000, the picture was quite different: 6.2% of adults in the nation were diabetic.

Here are some facts from the National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion:

  • 17 million Americans have diabetes.

  • More than 200,000 people die each year from complications related to the disease.

  • Diabetes is the nation's sixth-leading cause of death.

  • The chance of developing diabetes increases with age. One in five people over age 65 have the disease.

  • African Americans, Native Americans, and Alaska Natives face greater-than-average risks.

The cost of managing this disease is huge. Directly and indirectly, diabetes costs the nation almost $100 billion per year. In 1997, the cost of care for a person with this condition averaged $10,071 per year, compared with $2,699 for a person without the disease.

Role of the independent pharmacy

Diabetic patients continue to rely on independent pharmacies for diabetes management products. And because independent pharmacies are the major resource for these patients, pharmacists find themselves on the front line as counselors – not only for patients already diagnosed, but also for patients who have yet to be diagnosed. Build on the diabetic consumer's reliance on your service and offerings by creating a store strategy that will help make your already successful diabetes department and services even more successful.

How? You can adopt and adapt some strategies that are successful for the chains. It's also a way for you to protect your business as chains generally pursue the diabetes care business agressively. While you may not have the store size and resources to use all these suggestions, you would be wise to implement what you can and then monitor your success.

1. Make shopping easy. Reading package information is important to customers with diabetes, so try placing testing supplies in front of the pharmacy. With a little ingenuity, you can beat the challenges of shrinkage. For example, use a spring-loaded shelf organizer so that only one expensive package can be removed at a time. Or use source tags on each box to deter theft.

Also, anticipate the wide range of needs for diabetes patients by including ancillary items in your department. To provide convenience for patients, and to encourage add-on sales, include products such as sugar-free OTC items, nutritionals formulated for diabetes patients, as well as skin care, foot care, oral care, first aid, and cough & cold products. By centralizing ancillary items, you draw diabetes customers to a single area in the store, a strategy that makes answering questions and discussing products easier for you.

2. Provide education. Win customer loyalty by helping patients manage their condition. Place informational brochures within the department. You can take education a step further by putting patients in touch with dietitians affiliated with diabetes associations. These professionals field patient questions and provide nutritional advice via toll-free lines.

3. Provide opportunities for diagnosis. By making yourself and your facility available for clinics and testing sites, you can help people become aware of their condition. An estimated 5.9 million Americans do not know they have diabetes.

4. Combine information with savings. It's a winning combination. Create ads featuring competitive prices on testing supplies and ancillary products to acquaint consumers with your offering.

5. Stock and promote new diabetes care items. As the press features new items and new technologies, they will gain popularity. Customers will turn to you with questions about these innovations. Be prepared to explain these advancements.

6. Promote active lifestyles. Fitness helps prevent and control diabetes. Partner with a local health club or recreational facility to offer special rates for diabetes patients. Moderate, consistent exercise helps patients with Type 2 diabetes better control their condition. (Recent findings indicate that such exercise, coupled with a healthy diet, can reduce the risk of Type 2 diabetes by 60%.)

Because diabetes patients form the core business for many independent drugstores, they deserve special treatment. By catering to these patients' various needs, you'll further strengthen your position as the primary resource for managing this disease. And you'll earn the loyalty of these very important customers.


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Small dept.

Linear Feet
Number of SKUs
Estimated sales per year
Estimated inventory retail
Retail inventory turns

48 155 $190,000 $23,500 8.1
36 110 $178,500 $19,000 9.4
28 88 $160,000 $16,900 9.4
DEX4 Glucose Tabs Watermelon Diabet Aid Anti-Itch Cream 1oz Diabet Aid Antibiotic Gel 1oz Diabet Aid Foot Bath Tab 10 Diabet Aid Moisturizing Hand & Body Lotion 4oz Diabet Aid Mouth Rinse 16oz Diabet Aid Pain Relief Lotion 4oz E-Z Ject Lancets Thin 100, 200ct Glucerna Meal Bars Glucerna Shake 6x8oz Strawberry Medisense Precision Xtra Strips 100ct Monoject Short Syringes OneTouch Induo Monitor & Doser Pedifix Seamless Oversize Socks S,M,L Unifine Pen Tips Unilet X/LT II Lancets 100, 200 Zim's Crack Crème Diabetic 4oz
Can-Am Care Del Pharmaceuticals Del Pharmaceuticals Del Pharmaceuticals Del Pharmaceuticals Del Pharmaceuticals Del Pharmaceuticals Inverness Medical Ross Ross Abbott Labs Inverness Medical J&J/Lifescan Pedifix Owen Mumford Owen Mumford Perfecta


*Partial list researched by Hamacher Resource Group

Alcohol Swabs

____BD Alcohol Swabs 100

____Private Label Alcohol Swabs 100

Blood Glucose Monitors & Kits

____Accu-Chek Advanced Care Kit

____One Touch Basic System

Blood Glucose Testing Strips

____Accu-Chek Advanced Strip 100

____Accu-Chek Comfort Curve 50, 100

____Glucometer Elite Strip 50

____MediSense Precision QID Strip 50

____One Touch Strip 50, 100

Diabetic Supplies

____Accu-Chek Soft Touch Lancet 100

____Accu-Chek Soft Touch Lancet Device


Sandra Levy. How independents can create the best diabetes department.

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