Mexican firm opens U.S. retail clinics

A Mexican healthcare company has opened three Miami-area retail pharmacies with a largely Latino clientèle, putting a new, ethnically-focused twist on the U.S. retail clinic market. The clinics are owned by Mexico City-based Samoho, which operates retail clinics in a few Wal-Mart stores there. They're affiliated with Miami's Mercy Hospital, and staffed by local physicians, rather than nurse practitioners, as is usually the case with such clinics. The clinics are based in locations of a local chain, Navarro Discount Pharmacies. Samoho already operates an urgent care center in Miami under the MediGo name, and it plans to open more retail clinics and urgent care centers in South Florida over the next few years. As with its competitors, Samoho expects the clinics to become profitable within two years.

While the retail clinic market seems to be consolidating, with some locations closing and poorly capitalized chains folding, this strategy seems likely to succeed. A slow, careful expansion in markets where Samoho has a cultural and linguistic advantage should give it a leg up over those firms that have jumped quickly into the market with little to differentiate themselves. The only question is whether they'll be able to sustain a model based on higher physician salaries. We'll see.

To learn more about this story:
- read this Wall Street Journal piece

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