prescription medicationIf you're taking meds for say, high cholesterol, you can now pick up your Lipitor prescription from a licensed pharmacist at a local dollar store -- if you live in the right place.

Deals, the dollar store chain that's a spin-off of Dollar Tree (DLTR), opened its first location with a pharmacy this year in West Park, Florida, The Sun Sentinel reports.

Given the store upgrades afoot at these modern day five-and-dimes, retail experts are now starting to ask: Will other dollar store chains follow suit?

The addition of pharmacy departments to dollar stores would mark the latest expression of the makeover unfolding at these deep discounters, which gained popularity during the recession, siphoning market share from mass merchants like Walmart (WMT) while winning over higher income consumers who might once have turned up their noses at the chains.

Deals dollar store

Dollar stores have spruced up their digs and added more food to their product mixes, as well as introducing more name-brand merchandise across a variety of product categories.

And they've enhanced their heath and beauty care departments, gunning for the drugstore chains, David Marcotte, senior vice president of market research for retail consultancy Kantar Retail, tells DailyFinance.

Cash-strapped shoppers would especially benefit from the addition of pharmacies to dollar stores, he says. "The dollar stores are overwhelmingly located in lower-income areas that may or may not be served by a drug store or supermarket pharmacy."

Dollar Tree considers the Deals' pharmacy store a test. The chain's "reason for being is to deliver more value to customers -- we're always looking for better ways to do just that," Timothy J. Reid, a company spokesman, tells DailyFinance. "We'll see where it leads." Should the test go well, pharmacies could roll out to other Deals stores, he says.

One industry watcher predicts pharmacies in dollar stores are almost an inevitability. "Dollar stores, like a fast-moving river, will fill all available territories," said Gene Hoffman, president and CEO of Corporate Strategies International, an investment banking firm, on RetailWire's online forum on the topic. "Thus pharmacies will likely become commonplace in many dollar stores."

But let's not get ahead of ourselves.

Dollar General (DG), the nation's biggest dollar chain,"has not announced any plans" to open pharmacies, Tawn Earnest, a company spokeswoman, tells DailyFinance.

And Family Dollar (FDO), the nation's second largest dollar chain behind Dollar General, has no current plans to roll out pharmacy departments either, says Josh Braverman, communications director for the retailer.

However, he added, "We know as boomers age and come to us for more of their over the counter health-and-beauty-aid needs, there are opportunities to continue to remain relevant to our customer."

No Frills, Low Prices

To gain entree to the drugstore business, Deals partnered with PharmaGo, an independent pharmacy, to run the prescription services inside the store.

PharmaGoPharmaGo

PharmaGo offers prices competitive with Walgreens (WAG), CVS (CVS) and Walmart, and makes home deliveries, Bradley Schnur, chief operating office of PharmaGo, told The Sun Sentinel.

Shopper Michael Furey of Pembroke Pines replaced his pharmacy with PharmaGo soon after the Deals store opened close to where he lives. "I spend less money here than if I went to a big chain store," he told the paper.


But as a general proposition, will shoppers really be inclined to fill prescriptions at dollar chains, which, despite their makeovers, still largely operate no-frills stores that were once synonymous with low-quality merchandise and outdated goods from other retailers?

"There may be an image problem associated with dollar stores -- the lowest common denominator brand position may be out of sync with customer expectations," Richard Seesel, principal at In Focus LLC, said on RetailWire. "Target (TGT), Walmart and Costco (COST) don't have the same problem. Maybe Dollar Tree can make this work in its Deals format, but I'm a skeptic."

What's In a Brand?


Still, there's no denying that shopping habits have changed -- so perhaps dollar stores' low-rent image won't be an issue.

Americans have become more channel agnostic these days, and retailers are offering products and services far outside of what their store types or brands are known for. Drugstore chains like Walgreens and CVS are adding fine wine, sushi and nail salons to their stores; discounter Target sells out when it offers fresh looks from upscale designers like Missoni.

"It's about convenience, and what the store brand stands for isn't as key/essential as it once was," said David Slavick, vice president of retail consulting for Customer Communications Group, during the RetailWire forum.

Whether or not shoppers embrace the concept, dollar stores' low-cost structure would seem to preclude a wider roll-out of pharmacies to stores, retail experts say.

"The cost associated with running a pharmacy is grotesquely not in line with running a dollar store," Marcotte says. Adding a pharmacy could run a chain as much as $200,000 per store, he says.

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dmantics

When I get prescriptions I look in the ads and find a place that will give me store credit for transferring my prescriptions. Safeway and Kroger both give $25 credits in their store. Kroiger has no restrictions and you get 50 fuel points for every prescription. Safeway makes you spend $75 to get your $25 so it's not as good. CVS also gives you $1 for every 2 prescriptions you fill. Yeah the dollar store is cool but if you do it right you can get your scrips for free by looking at your ads. I wrote about it in detail here: http://themoneywhisperer20.blogspot.com/2012/01/express-scripts-walgreens-disagreeyou.html

Dan

May 06 2012 at 1:27 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
mrb172

which dollar stores are rated as a buy?

April 22 2012 at 1:43 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
medal819

Yes. China made pills.

April 21 2012 at 7:29 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
deementia

Oh yes.. The source code for this so called "page" has alot of Java and that word "beacon"...
What a waste.. No Human Beings Here!
I am cancelling the fee I pay my ISP every month to go to web pages that are devoid of everything Human Being.
The fact that I should be paid by the machines for what little human data I might contribute. Or the fact that "Facebook" is the main repository for "me"... no wait.. "everybody elses crap that gets put in front of me.. that I do not want around me..
What a bunch of garbage.

One way to get rid of the algorhythms, MIT and the entire "internet"... NO... World Wide Web..
Stop any/all human use. The macdhines need us ... We do not need them. And, what we have now is void of human. What I see is not what you see? What made that decision and No, it is not me!
I am out of here. It's bad enough that human beings have devolved to the point they have.. Or have they? The machines would like us to believe this. It is as usual fake. Demons, Machines.. what is the difference. I was fine before I was "on-line" and I will be more than fine when I disconnect. What has this computer of mine and linking to the internet has not really made my life better. The Internet is not real and void of life. I am not. Save time? No. I lost track of time and hours later when I realize I have surfed pages that have zero human content, that it is boring, unpleasant, and not at all "the information highway". When Wikipedia hyperlinks are listed as a viable source over an encyclopedia I want to pedia all over that wiki.
I turn around, and see the living behind me. The ones I love. The living. I realise that something is very wrong when I choose a keyboard, a monitor, a machine, to access "pages" that I read but are really "code".
What I choose to return to again and again is not at all good nor God. This is evil .. It distracts, confuses and results in chaos.
I need to be among the living. The ones I love. Not some binary code that is the same as it ever was.
I know I will feel better. I already do.
I won't be throwing my money down the drain. In fact, I plan on going to the library. There are books there.. not "virtual pages".
Next.. the TV. I pay what for 230 stations that play reruns of NCIS, Law and Order SUV, Criminal Intent..etc Not to mention "Reality TV"? That is an oxymoron and then some! Hillbilly Handfishing, Lizard Lick Towing, Toddlers and Tiaras, and whatever else they serve up as even palatable that costs the stations/networks next to nothing for a huge profit. No. I will not "watch" TV That alone gives me the chills. "Watch" TV is something I want to do? Yikes. I used to but, it is evident now that Public Television is done fronting, and is finally the Public Television it was always meant to be. Oh No! Carl Sagan's NOVA (circa 1980) to be shown ... again.
Sagan is dead. SETI is silent.
This life support pulled its own plug..

April 19 2012 at 10:51 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
deementia

Convenience and Cheap. Since when did this become acceptable? I asked this question myself three years ago. I was mortified to find that apparently cheap was just fine with me. Convenience? What's more convenient than cheap? Right?
WRONG! Cheap does not mean Cheap. You might save $$, but the cost to you, your health and even your mental state are something that one cannot put a price on.
First, TEVA (in Israel) is the main supplier of generic drugs. What is not said is that the majority of generics are manufactured in South Asia. There are no regulations quality controls in place because, they are not required. TEVA gives some bunk about "inspecting" ...
Generics are dangerous. Mainly because they do not have to meet the same standards that the "Brand" did.
For example: Generics are given a range of 5% - 20% efficacy. In other words. The effectiveness of the drug itself does not have to be anywhere near peak effectiveness. 5% ... to 20% off is acceptable.
Add to that the ingredients used that are mixed with the drug called "Compounding Ingredients". When the drug was manufactured by a Pharmaceutical Company under a brand name, ex: Lipitor. The FDA required that the Compounding Ingredients be reported in addition to clearance for the drug itself. Any changes to the initial compounding ingredients had to be reported to the FDA no matter how long the drug had been on the market. Once the drug went "generic" all the FDA requirements in regard to Compounding Ingredients were waived. No reporting necessary. Generics are dangerous because what a generic manufacturer might use for compounding ingredients are not at all what the original brand used. And, all they have to shoot for is 5% - 20% leeway in actual effectiveness so if lead does the trick, so be it. They do not have to report any changes either. In other words, there is essentially no FDA oversight of generics. We have no idea what we are taking when we get that cheap RX. It may say "generic for..." but I can guarantee that is is not the same as the brand name you once took.
How generics came about I do not know. What I know is that the "Brand" company retains the rights. The patent runs out, allowing other companies (namely TEVA) to manufacture a generic version of the original brand. Note: "Version" not equal to. Companies like Medco, etc apparently force patients to take generics. The fact that computer algorhythms actually "make that decision" that a patient does not need to take a drug their physician prescribed, rather a step therapy, older drug does the same thing but costs less?
This is binary code! A machine that is programmed for outcomes only generates an autobot response that is received in the mail telling a patient that a Dr's RX is not acknowledged?
Inconvenient, an understatement. The "technology", costly. Cheap = the patient, not worth a damn. The Dr dismissed replaced by algorhythms from MIT..
Dolla Dolla Bill Y'all ~ (WTC)

April 19 2012 at 10:27 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Somey

One month supply of Lipitor for one dollar; why not.

April 19 2012 at 7:58 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Richard

Simple fact is competition drives down prices on all goods and services, more they have to compete, better for us consumers, after all, it's our money they are after, need more of the same for fuel, too high, cut out the speculators, cut the fed taxes, etc., would really help us all and the staggering economy.

April 19 2012 at 5:07 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
jnazara

can`t find a dollar general store in my area..

April 19 2012 at 12:34 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Arius

Family Dollar and Dollar General are not 'dollar stores'. They just have the word dollar in their names.
Dollar Tree, at least in our area, is strictly a dollar store, no price is more than a dollar.
That would be awesome if Dollar Tree started selling my meds for a dollar each.

April 19 2012 at 10:43 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply