Friday, October 14, 2011


Large national pharmacies and capitolism. My experience working for Rite Aid has led me to wonder what their ultimate aim is, is it profiting, or is it (as they claim) the "wellness" of their "patients." To some extent, the two match up. A pharmacy that is not looking out for the best interest of their patients will not likely survive. But ultimately all this really means is that so long as they are not poisoning anyone they can instead focus on profits while twisting all of their initiatives to have the appearance of being formed in the best interest of their patience. The "Wellness" program is a great example. All of the media (informational pamphlets and advertising behind becoming a wellness+ member) is geared to give the appearance that it is a program that allows the pharmacy to have a better relationship with its patience. Of course the real motivation behind turning customers into "wellness+ members" is all about customer loyalty, which is all about profits. It is really all about tracking buying habits and demographics and finding out better ways to make "front end" shoppers become pharmacy patients, and vice-versa, in order to increase the bottomline. This does have to be measured with the fact that the more the company makes, presumably the more there is to invest in programs that would benefit the patience, thus serving everyone's interests. However, I am not convinced that I see this in action. I see the media that twists and manipulates all of the new initiatives to have an appearance to serve the customer, while all of them are really geared toward increasing basket sizes and making sure you come back to pick up your prescriptions on will call. A new initiative here actually grades patience on their "compliance" to their medication. Their side of the propaganda is that these ratings serve as enforcement to ensure customers are keeping up with their doctor's prescriptions, and so are for the sole sake of improving the well-being of the patient. But one must also consider just how much money pharmacies lose to prescriptions not being picked up from will call and then it leads me to doubt the real motivation. I suppose if one helps the other than it is not entirely cynical and evil, but it still seems manipulative and insincere to say the least. The ultimate aim of a pharmacy is best seen in what it sells outside of the pharmacy--candy is constantly on sale as well as soda, and of course cigarette deals. This alone should be cause to question whose interest a pharmacy is looking out for. Try to find something healthy to eat at a Rite Aid. No Lean Pockets are not healthy, and neither is fruit that lives in syrup. You will find prunes and "nutritional bars" and that is about it. Compare that to the chips, soda, candy, seasonal candy, and junk food aisles.

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