- Publix Pharmacy has partnered with Beaufort Memorial Hospital in Beaufort County, South Carolina to help make healthcare access and prescription delivery more convenient for patients, according to a company press release.
- As part of the agreement, Publix Pharmacy will offer in-hospital prescription delivery to discharged patients before they leave the hospital. A nearby Publix pharmacy will fill the prescriptions and a Publix employee will be in charge of delivery.
- Publix will also open telehealth centers later this year at two locations in Beaufort County, which will provide care for non-emergency treatment over video conferencing with a board-certified provider. Each visit costs $59 and appointments will not be required.
Publix has been making an effort to delve deeper into healthcare since 2017 when it collaborated with BayCare Health System in Florida to offer BayCare-branded telehealth sites at Publix stores, in-store screening stations and on-site Publix pharmacies at BayCare hospitals in four Florida counties. It also offered free prescription delivery for BayCare hospital patients.
The addition of healthcare options in South Carolina is one more way to connect with customers who are focused on convenience, and the retailer's decision to partner with a hospital adds credibility so that it is seen as more than just a grocer with a pharmacy, but a reliable player in the healthcare space. Based in Florida, Publix's decision to expand pharmacy service offerings beyond its immediate home turf could signal that it has a broader vision for its role in the healthcare space throughout the Mid-Atlantic territory.
Pharmacy and healthcare offerings are increasingly being seen as an opportunity for some retailers and an obstacle for others. Minnesota-based Lunds & Byerlys just exited the pharmacy business, while Hy-Vee recently acquired 10 Weber & Judd pharmacies and 22 Shopko pharmacy locations. Meanwhile, CVS has expanded same-day prescription delivery to 6,000 stores, and Amazon owns digital pharmacy PillPack. Kroger continues to add new health initiatives for employees and customers and just partnered with Myriad Genetics through its Kroger Health arm to help patients with depression.
Despite their prevalence, retail pharmacies are seeing a drop in prescription revenue. It may be a losing proposition for some grocers, while others see an opportunity to revolutionize the retail pharmacy and healthcare experience to offer more value to customers and establish additional revenue streams.