Pharmacy competition is driving the development of innovative savings and loyalty programs to increase traffic and secure clientele.
Kroger Co. is expected to increase traffic to its pharmacies with the recent launch of its discounted prescription loyalty program.
Kroger’s new Rx Savings Club, developed in partnership with GoodRx, provides customers with discounts on commonly-prescribed generic medications for heart health, diabetes, asthma, mental health issues, women's health, gastrointestinal health, and other conditions.
The program provides up to an 85% savings on thousands of prescriptions, according to the Cincinnati -based operator of more than 2,700 grocery stores and more than 2,200 pharmacies.
For example, atorvastatin (Lipitor) is $6 for a 30-day supply and $12 for a 90-day supply for members of the Rx Savings Club. Free medications include amlodipine for high blood pressure, metformin IR for diabetes, sertraline for mental health, and montelukast for asthma.
Members of the Rx Savings Club pay an annual fee of $36 for individuals and $72 for families (up to six people can be covered with one family membership). The program offers three tiers of low-cost medications:
“Kroger reaches millions of people a day through its stores, so pharmacy programs are an important way to drive traffic into their stores. The pharmacy business is so competitive that each retailer needs to have its own bonus card or approach to build loyalty among customers,” Ashraf Shehata, advisory principal at KPMG and a member of the firm’s Global Healthcare Center of Excellence, tells Drug Topics.
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Because the pharmacy business is so aggressive, it is difficult to say how much Kroger’s prescription savings program will drive growth, according to Shehata. However, having a tier of free prescription drugs that includes high blood pressure, antidepressant, asthma and diabetes treatments will attract the attention of patients utilizing these treatments, “a fairly large segment of the population,” Shehata says.
Compared to many other retailers, Kroger is sophisticated in the use of its loyalty cards and mobile apps, “which generate data to help improve the customer experience,” Shehata says.
Kroger’s approach can help people who do not have a pharmacy benefit manager acting on their behalf, Shehata says. “Also, Kroger’s club can help it keep more of its revenue versus dealing with a pharmacy benefit manager that only pays a small dispensing fee to retail pharmacies.”
"Our mission is to help lower the cost of prescriptions in America, and we are very pleased to have worked with Kroger to develop such a significant Rx savings program," says Jim Sheninger, pharmacy strategy officer for GoodRx, in a statement. “The popularity of the medications included in these discounts, coupled with the extra low-cost pricing tiers, should result in meaningful savings for patients and families-savings that are absolutely critical in this high-priced healthcare landscape."