Drug channel sales declined in Q4 2022 versus the prior quarter, and the channel lost overall share in the total MULOC market amid that market’s 8.6% Q4 growth. This softness was led by a 4.7% decline in the health department. But the news is not all bad, as the channel is lapping outstanding 2021 performance and flu season now has consumers looking to the channel for remedies — despite inflation concerns that continue to dampen overall spending.


  • As traditional frontline primary care facilities struggle with tight budgets, consumers are finding more convenience and better value in retail health care. The amount of health care conducted through retail outlets is expected to double in 2023, benefiting the drug channel.
  • Drug stores should continue to prioritize availability of upper respiratory treatments with flu, RSV and COVID-19 outbreaks expected to continue into Q1 2023. As consumer mobility continues to rise, seasonal allergy remedies should also be promoted.
  • As consumers respond to inflation with greater price sensitivity, drug retailers should make private label products available online and in stores across all key categories.