TORONTO–More chain store pharmacists are making time for pharmaceutical care, according to the latest State of the Industry Report by the Canadian Association of Chain Drug Stores (CACDS).

The number of CACDS drugstore members to offer trial prescription programs almost doubled in 1999 to 61%, from 33% in 1998. And more than two-thirds (69%) of drugstores now offer compliance programs, compared to just 21% in 1998. Drugstores are also spending more time on disease state management: 78% offered such programs in 1999, compared to 72% in 1998.

Grocery/mass merchandisers members are catching on to pharmaceutical care, but at a much slower rate than their drugstore competitors. Close to half (47%) of grocery/mass pharmacies now offer trial prescription programs, up from 43% in 1998. However, those offering compliance programs dropped 1% to 19% in 1999. And only 14% of grocery/mass pharmacies are offering disease state management programs, down from 17% in 1998.

Instead, grocery/mass members are focussing their attention on drug utilization reviews/programs. It’s the only service where grocery and mass pharmacies (58%) outshine traditional drugstores (31%).

Despite increasing pharmaceutical care programs and services, a national pharmacist shortage has forced members to reduce operating hours. In 1999, nearly two-thirds (64%) of drugstores and 71% of grocery/mass pharmacies were open less than 12 hours per day, compared to 35% and 67% in 1998 respectively.

Most members offer services such as home delivery, health education seminars/programs and in-house medication testing; however, fewer drugstores are making room for a separate counselling area. Only 54% of drugstores offer this service, down from 62% in 1998. Conversely, two-thirds (65%) of grocery/mass pharmacies now have a separate counselling area, up from 43% in 1998.

CACDS membership increased to 2,690 pharmacies (1,721 drugstores and 969 grocery/mass merchandisers) in 1999. The average drugstore size is 6,553 sq. ft., while grocery and mass merchandisers’ stores average 58,840 sq.ft. Still, drugstore dispensaries were 40% larger than those in grocery/mass pharmacies.

A whopping 60% of drugstore corporations responding to the survey have web sites, of which two-thirds provide healthcare information. Only 20% of grocery/mass pharmacies have web sites in place; however, most indicated that they plan to in the future. And both drugstore and grocery/mass merchandisers support online dispensing and selling. The CACDS will meet in January to decide what members can do to facilitate this.

Results are based on survey responses from 18 of the association’s 19 member companies.

CACDS member stores fill more than 50% of the prescription drugs dispensed in Canada each year, according to the report.

The 1999 State of the Industry report is available from CACDS by calling (416) 226-9100, or e-mail