Cardinal Health launched the Pharmacy Health Network in early August, serving up digital prescription and OTC advertising in 3,000 independent retail and franchised pharmacies nationwide.

In addition to video advertising, the in-store digital program will provide educational content via flat-panel LCD screens to patients at the point-of-purchase — as they wait for prescriptions to be filled. Independent pharmacies such as Leader and Medicine Shoppe are included in the network. According to Tara Schumacher, director of media relations at Cardinal Health, the network will reach an estimated 22 million consumers each month.

Advertising capabilities include customized video, brochure racks and other take-away items such as samples, coupons and business reply cards, according to a statement. Additional content from the NBC Digital Health Network and will also be featured on the network. Real Digital Media is providing media players.

Dallas, Texas-based Respario Digital Advertising Group will manage the network, and handle the technology and content. Schumacher said the program is designed to be “as turn-key as possible” from a pharmacy owner’s perspective. “All that’s necessary is an internet connection…the pharmacy doesn’t have to pay for the technology or installation,” said Schumacher.

Schumacher said a list of pharmaceutical companies interested in advertising on the network had been circulating internally, but was unable to divulge specific company names.

The network launch was announced during Cardinal Health’s Retail Business Conference (RBC) in Washington DC (July 29-August 1). Cardinal Health’s revenues were up by 5% in 2008 to $91 billion. Operating earnings increased by 54% over the same period to $2.1 billion, according to an annual report.