Sears Kills Mail-Order Prescription Drug Program

By Ukens, Carol | Drug Topics, February 22, 1993 | Go to article overview

Sears Kills Mail-Order Prescription Drug Program


Ukens, Carol, Drug Topics


The mail-order prescription drug program that prompted many pharmacists to stop patronizing Sears, Roebuck & Co. will be dead by the end of the year when the troubled retailing giant kills off its entire catalogue division to stanch the flow of red ink.

Sears' excursion into mail-order pharmacy turned out to be a short trip. The program was launched last summer with a starring role in the firm's health-care specialty catalogue and a blurb tucked into the fall issue of the general merchandise catalogue. Customers can order from the catalogues through the end of the year, but there will be no 1993 edition of the health-care catalogue, which was started 27 years ago, said Mary Lou Bilder, public relations director of the catalogue division. And that means no more mail-order pharmacy.

The Sears mail-order pharmacy was administered by Allscrips Pharmaceuticals Inc., which also prepackages Rx drugs for physician dispensing. Although the pharmacy service is on the chopping block, the Vernon Hills, Ill., firm will continue to serve customers who had already used the Sears program. In a written statement, chief financial officer James Zilka added, "In any event, the Sears program is not material to the rapid growth of Allscrips' total pharmaceutical cost management business."

Independents incensed: Many independent pharmacy owners around the country were so incensed by the mail-order pharmacy program that they stopped patronizing Sears stores and cut up their Discover credit cards or refused to accept the Sears-owned card in their pharmacies. The end of Sears' program has not yet elicited a response from NARD, which put the retailer on its Dishonor Roll of companies using mail order. …

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