Drkoop takes a dose of e-commerce

Drkoop, an online consumer healthcare network, announces an e-commerce relationship with Drug Emporium's online drugstore.

2 min read
Drkoop, an online consumer healthcare network, today announced an e-commerce relationship with Drug Emporium's online drugstore.

The alliance will allow Drkoop users access to more than 20,000 discounted drug and healthcare products using DrugEmporium.com. Drkoop, which launched last July, hopes that the relationship will also draw DrugEmporium visitors to Drkoop's content and tools on the Web.

The race to integrate online consumer healthcare information networks with e-commerce functions is speeding up to an increasingly faster pace. Just this week, News America Digital Publishing, a subsidiary of News Corporation, invested in online pharmacist PlanetRx, hoping to bring e-commerce to its Health Network when it launches in July.

Drkoop, with a market capitalization of $457 million at yesterday's closing, said it plans to start contextual marketing of products, listing products in their relevant content areas. Also, visitors to DrugEmporium will have related Drkoop healthcare information for the products they are considering.

"This is the first of a limited number of strategic alliances that will provide our visitors with a shopping experience that brings both competitive prices and expanded choice," Drkoop chief executive Donald Hackett said in a statement.

Earlier this week, drkoop successfully entered the capital markets, rising as much as 62 percent on its first day of trading. The company was cofounded by former Surgeon General C. Everett Koop, who served under the Reagan administration between 1981 and 1989.

The online consumer healthcare market is expected to grow to $1.7 billion by 2003, according to research released last month research firm Jupiter Communications. The firm estimates that the total online/offline market for consumer health goods is expected to be $205.2 billion by 2003.

Although online purchases represent but a sliver of the market, the absolute dollar amount is much higher than that spent online on other consumer goods such as books.

The two companies expect to launch their integrated site and start e-commerce transactions within Drkoop in August.

In addition to DrugEmporium.com Web site, Drug Emporium operates 140 brick-and-mortar stores.