January 11, 2000 6:20 PM PST

PlanetRX nabs managed care services deal

PlanetRx today said it became the exclusive online drugstore for managed-care provider CCN, moving to increase its share of the lucrative online pharmacy business.

PlanetRx.com also said it will begin a $30 million advertising campaign this month to pursue more Internet sales for its drugs, vitamins, health and beauty products.

Through its partnership with CCN--one of the nation's largest preferred provider organizations (PPO)--the San Francisco-based PlanetRx gains access to its 32 million members. The agreement calls for both companies to market PlanetRx's products and services to CCN members and to its 340,000 member physicians.

"This contract solidifies our belief that as we begin the next century, online access to pharmaceutical products will become the norm for physicians, patients and their associated managed care plans," PlanetRx chief executive William Razzouk said.

The deal follows several similar agreements with prescription managers in the last year. In August, Benchmark Capital-backed PlanetRx signed a 5-year deal with Express Scripts, the nation's third largest pharmacy benefits manager (PBM). PBMs are essentially a broker between the health insurance company and the pharmacies.

Rival Drugstore.com, which is backed by Amazon, also signed a 10-year deal with PCS, the second largest PBM, and its parent company Rite Aid.

The partnerships are vital because consumers often won't shop online unless they can use their health insurance to pay for prescriptions.

Last month, Internet research firm PC Data Online reported that Drugstore.com and PlanetRx were among the top ten e-commerce sites.

Bloomberg contributed to this report.


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