AOL To Open Online Drugstore

America Online (Nasdaq: AOL) announced its plan to debut a new online drugstore in partnership with PlanetRx. This partnership will position AOL to compete against popular pharmaceutical drugstore chains, such as Genovese Drug, CVS Corporation, Rite Aid Corporation, and Duane Reade

The new site will enable consumers to fill existing prescriptions and purchase over-the-counter drugs and personal care products online. Shoppers searching for non-prescription items will be able to browse what is promised to be a wide selection of name brand and generic products, and securely purchase their selections online with a credit card.

In addition to health care products, PlanetRx will also offer medical information and health-related content, and will be featured on AOL’s main Web site, as well as on its Digital City Sites.

The deal will net AOL a cool US$15 million under the three-year contract, scheduled to begin early this year.

“The explosion of electronic commerce has been driven by a growing demand for easier, more convenient ways to shop for the products consumers purchase everyday,” said Barry Schuler, President of AOL Interactive Services. “Being able to fill prescriptions and shop for personal healthcare products online is not only a natural extension of the e-commerce marketplace, it’s a convenient solution for AOL members and visitors to our Web-based brands who want to more efficiently use the time it takes to make trips to the pharmacy.”

PlanetRx is headquartered in South San Francisco, CA, and has a distribution center in Memphis, TN. The company was founded in 1997 with venture funding from Benchmark Capital and Sequoia Capital.

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