Physicians, think that your competitor is Dr. Smith across the street or the hospital and its 185 captive docs? Think longer term.
In 2014 CVS/pharmacy rebranded as CVS Health.
They operate 850 MinuteClinics staffed with nurse practitioners and physician assistants spread across 29 states. Their patient care goal? 1,500 clinics in 35 states by 2017.
Walgreens. On my last count, there were 400 Walgreens Healthcare Clinics located in their stores. And, they’ve recently announced an expansion of their telehealth platform.
These and the other national pharmacy chains are your competitors, too. Perhaps even more deadly ones, because they are not your “colleagues.” They are happy to care for whom you imagined were your patients. In addition to their current disruption of what used to be patient visits to primary care physicians, they will eventually shift to employing physicians and directing what used to be your referrals.
Think that sucks? Or do you smell the opportunity?
Depending on what your definition of a “chain” store is, there are almost as many independent pharmacies, around 23,000, as there are stores owned by the national players.
Each of those stores, or affiliated groups of them, can make the same foray into far more of the healthcare market than selling pharmaceuticals.
For the independent pharmacists reading this, there is tremendous opportunity.
For the physicians reading this, at least those who have enough entrepreneurial guts to take action, there’s an opportunity, too. An opportunity to align with (from ownership to joint ventures to other affiliation) non-chain pharmacies.
It’s your choice: Run and hide. Run and profit.
Comment or contact me if you’d like to discuss this post.
Mark F. Weiss