Drug store health clinics

Lisa Napoli Jul 17, 2006


CHERYL GLASER: This week, Walgreens debuts a new product, but you won’t find it on the drugstore’s shelves. As Marketplace’s Lisa Napoli reports, Walgreen’s is rolling out in-store health clinics.

LISA NAPOLI: It’s one thing to offer access to medicine, but these days more drugstore chains are staffing stores with nurse practitioners to prescribe them and to diagnose minor ailments.

Rob Mechanic of Brandeis University says there’s a reason this is so popular, particularly for people who don’t have insurance.

ROB MECHANIC: When you go into a doctor’s office or a hospital it’s really not a retail model. You don’t know exactly what service you’re going to get and you don’t know what the service will cost

Most drugstore clinics promise to see patients within 15 minutes and charge no more than $50.

Mechanic says over time these clinics might force doctors to be more aware of costs and to speed up service. Not your typical doctor’s visit.

For their part, doctors say they fear the service is sub-par.

That didn’t stop CVS from snapping up the chain called “Minute Clinics” last week for an undisclosed sum.

I’m Lisa Napoli for Marketplace.

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