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Drugstore.com opens virtual GNC aisle

In one of the first fruits of its partnership with General Nutrition Centers, the online pharmacy is opening a section tomorrow featuring GNC products within its site.

In one of the first fruits of its partnership with General Nutrition Centers, Drugstore.com is opening a section featuring GNC products within its online pharmacy.

Drugstore.com plans to announce the specialty area tomorrow, but it went live quietly last week. Company spokeswoman Debby Fry Wilson said the site went live with a range of GNC nutritional products--including vitamins and diet supplements--within an area titled GNC LiveWell. Within the next quarter, the site will offer GNC's entire catalog of products and will allow customers to sign up for the company's membership card.

GNC customers who already have a membership card can use it to get discounts in the LiveWell area of the site, Wilson said.

GNC bought an 8 percent stake in Drugstore.com last June for $2.5 million in cash and marketing considerations before the online pharmacy's July public offering. According to regulatory filings, GNC currently owns about 7 percent of Drugstore.com.

Rite Aid bought a 25 percent stake in Drugstore.com at the same time GNC made its investment. The company previously announced an agreement with Rite Aid that will allow its customers to order their prescription refills on Drugstore.com. Rite Aid currently owns about 22 percent of the Drugstore.com.