February 14, 2001, 12:00 AM

PlanetRx.com exits retail business

Struggling PlanetRx.com shifts focus to specialty prescriptions and refers retail customers to Drugstore.com.

Online drugstore PlanetRx.com is getting out of the retail pharmacy business and shifting its business model to focus on fulfilling specialty prescriptions through its existing site,. It will discontinue online sales of retail health and beauty products as of March 12. The company has designated Drugstore.com as the preferred retail provider for its 1.4 million customers. Participation in the referral program will be voluntary on the part of PlanetRx customers. PlanetRx also has signed a letter of intent to acquire an existing specialty pharmacy business, whose name it has not disclosed. That purchase is expected to be finalized by Feb. 21, pending approval of PlanetRx`s board. The move into the estimated $14 billion and fast-growing specialty pharmaceutical market "repurposes the extensive healthcare expertise, relationships, brand and other assets of PlanetRx against a faster growing, less costly, higher margin business opportunity," says Michael Beindorff, chairman and CEO.

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