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Eyebrow waxing and lattes at the drugstore?

Look Boutique in the Walgreen store in the

Look Boutique in the Walgreen store in the Empire State Building offers cosmetic care as well as other staples of a drugstore. (May 15, 2013) Credit: AP

At some Walgreen stores, there are health clinics staffed by nurse practitioners, cafes that sell barista-prepared coffee and Eyebrow Bars where trained professionals groom unruly facial hair.

Oh, and pharmacists fill prescriptions, too.

The nation's major drugstore chains are moving beyond simply doling out drugs and Kleenex. They're opening in-store clinics and offering more health care products in part to serve an aging population that will need more care.

It's also a response to the massive U.S. health care overhaul, which is expected to add about 25 million newly insured people who will need medical care and prescriptions.

And drugstores are offering more services as a way to boost revenue in the face of competition from retailers like Wal-Mart that have added in-store pharmacies.

Beth Stiller, a divisional vice president at Walgreen, the nation's largest drugstore chain, said the changes are necessary because time-pressed customers have come to expect that they will be able to do more than just fill a prescription at drugstores.

"We live in a world where personalization and .?.?. high-touch service is much more expected," agreed Helena Foulkes, chief health care strategy and marketing officer for CVS Caremark Corp., the nation's No. 2 drugstore chain.

The move toward expanding products and services has been gradual. Up until about five years ago, the major chains focused on adding stores, not services. When states started allowing pharmacists to provide flu shots, it paved the way for drugstores to begin offering other immunizations for diseases such as pneumonia and shingles.

And after Congress passed the health care overhaul in 2010, drugstores started adding more in-store clinics to help serve the newly insured population that will be created by that law. At the same time, grocers and other big retailers have started beefing up their health care offerings to compete with pharmacies for customers.

"It became a marketplace where everybody was doing a little bit of everybody else's stuff," said Jack Horst, a partner with the management consulting firm Kurt Salmon. "There are so many other options for people these days in terms of finding an outlet for filling a prescription."

So drugstores are expanding their offerings to stay competitive. Rite Aid Corp., the nation's No. 3 chain, has converted more than 900 of its 4,615 locations to a "wellness" format it introduced in 2011. The stores offer organic soups, pastas and juices and a line of home fitness equipment like yoga mats and dumbbells.

Additionally, Rite Aid started a program in March that allows customers at about 70 of its stores to connect remotely with doctors for a video or phone consultation covering a range of ailments from allergies to the flu. The 10-minute virtual consultations with physicians, who are contracted by Rite Aid, costs $45. That compares with the more than $100 someone without insurance might pay for a doctor's office visit.

CVS Caremark runs more than 650 MinuteClinics that are staffed by nurse practitioners or physician assistants and handle largely minor illnesses. CVS also offers acne consultations and monitoring of chronic conditions such as diabetes.

For its part, Walgreen Co. has opened 11 flagship stores across the country that offer extras such as the barista-prepared coffee, juice and smoothie bars, and boutiques that provide services such as eyebrow grooming. Nearly twice the size of a typical, 14,000-square foot drugstore, these stores tend to be located in high-profile spots such as Manhattan's Empire State Building.

More broadly, Walgreen has launched a Well Experience format in about 400 stores nationwide. These stores feature expanded beauty options, fresh food and groceries and private rooms for pharmacist consultations.

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