HEALTH

Drugstore.com reports booming business, plans for expansion with microsite

BY Michael Johnsen

BELLEVUE, Wash. While retailers have experienced flat to declining revenues through the current recession, Drugstore.com’s online business is booming on account of two trends: 1. over-the-counter medicines and beauty products which are historically recession-resistant, and 2. more consumers are turning to the Internet in their search of deals.

“Overall revenues [for the quarter] were $100.3 million, the highest in company history,” Dawn Lepore, Drugstore.com CEO and chairman, told analysts Thursday evening. “OTC revenue grew 10% despite flat-to-declining e-commerce industry trends.”

And the online West Coast retailer envisions that OTC revenue continue its upward climb by hundreds of basis points going forward, thanks in part to Drugstore.com’s corporate partnerships with Medco and Rite Aid and the imminent launch of a new Drugstore.com concept called “microsites,” where Drugstore.com will create an online destination center around specific OTC categories that go beyond the offerings available on its core site.

Drugstore.com on June 1 officially launched its online Medco Health Store — a branded Medco site powered by Drugstore.com where Medco’s 60-million-plus covered can order over-the-counter medicines online.

“This is an exciting opportunity especially when you consider that $20 billion in pharmaceutical drug [sales] are expected to go OTC in the next five years,” Lepore said. “We offer over 20,000 of our SKUs on their site categorized [by] healthcare condition.”

And the e-retailer plans to launch its first microsite — Sexualwellbeing.com — next week with the goal of being the low-cost leader specifically in that category. “We are able to leverage our existing inventory and organization to cost-effectively launch a series of sites dedicated to specific areas,” Lepore explained. “Sexual well-being is an obvious category for a microsite. There [will be] some additional products [on that site] that may not be appropriate for the Drugstore.com site,” she added. “There are a number of categories — everything from mens to allergy — that are very promising microsites.”

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Diagnostic Devices in contract with two states for Medicaid-covered blood glucose monitoring systems

BY Michael Johnsen

CHARLOTTE, N.C. Diagnostic Devices on Wednesday announced contracts with the states of Illinois and Missouri around Medicaid coverage of its Prodigy line of blood glucose monitoring systems and test strips.

“We will continue working with other states for coverage under their Medicaid programs, and to demonstrate to them the savings Illinois and Missouri taxpayers will realize with the Prodigy family of products,” stated Rick Admani Abulhaj, Diagnostic COO.

A recent study by University of Florida PharmD candidates found the “talking” feature of the Prodigy AutoCode meter made a “significant improvement” in overall diabetes control and compliance among patients who took part, the company noted.

The Prodigy Voice meter for blind or low-vision diabetes patients has been honored with awards from both the National Federation of the Blind and the American Foundation for the Blind, the company added.

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3M acquires ACE bandages

BY Michael Johnsen

ST. PAUL, Minn. 3M announced that it recently acquired the ACE branded elastic bandage and supports product lines and thermometer product line (and related brands) from Becton, Dickinson and Co.

Terms of the transaction were not disclosed.

“ACE is a great extension of our consumer products portfolio,” stated Gabi Sabongi, VP, R&D and new business ventures of 3M Consumer and Office Business. “ACE brings to our company an iconic brand with admirable consumer loyalty. ACE and its related brands also broaden our channels for consumer products, including the sporting goods channel.”

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