Retail clinic growth slows

January 15, 2010

The DeLoitte Center for Health Solutions has released a study projecting a slow-down in growth of retail pharmacy clinics across the United States in the next two years.

Key Points

Even though retail clinics have grown significantly over the past few years, their growth is projected to slow over the next two years, according to a new study.

Although the number of U.S. retail clinics grew 30 percent in 2008, such locations showed a five percent decrease in growth during the first five months of 2009 to around 1,107 clinics, according to the Deloitte Center for Health Solutions in Washington, D.C. "The economic downturn that began in 2007 had a chilling effect on retailers; conditions also were challenging for private investors backing startups in retail medicine," a passage in Deloitte's retail clinic study said.

"Cautious" growth will resume in 2010, according to the study, and the industry will experience a slower 10 percent to 15 percent growth rate from 2010 through 2012.

"The capital markets have said this is a promising sector, but it needs to definite its business model better," he added.

Still, the retail clinic industry is expected to grow more dramatically, at around 30 percent a year in 2013 and 2014, according to the Deloitte study. Deloitte projects a total of approximately 2,500 retail clinics in the U.S. by 2013 and estimates that there will be 3,200 by 2014.

By 2013 and 2014, "Lipitor [and other drugs] will have gone generic, and you have some economic recovery, with unemployment back to around seven percent and consumer spending back some," Keckley said.

In the current market, retail pharmacy chains such as CVS dominate the retail clinic business, accounting for 82 percent of locations. Grocery stores make up 12 percent of the retail clinic business, and big-box retailers account for six percent.

Retail clinic operators MinuteClinic and Take Care continue to dominate the market, with a 72 percent market share between them, the study said.