Walgreens to Open Doctor Offices in Hundreds of its Stores
Walgreens Boots Alliance announced earlier this week that it will soon have doctor offices inside of hundreds of its U.S. drugstores. The retailer has partnered with VillageMD, which will staff and run the primary-care clinics. The companies said they will open the clinics in 500 to 700 stores in more than 30 U.S. markets over the next five years. Walgreens is expanding its focus on medical care as it cuts costs and invests in new areas. The drugstore chain has closed hundreds of stores and laid off employees, while experimenting with innovative business models. Walgreens wants to turn its drugstores into health and wellness destinations where people spend more time and money.
Total Retail's Take: Walgreens has made a concerted effort to position itself as more than just a pharmacy retailer, but rather a healthcare company. With intensifying competition in the pharmacy market, particularly online, Walgreens has made the decision — and very likely a wise one — that it needs to diversify its business model and revenue streams to grow profitably. As such, Walgreens has announced partnerships with numerous healthcare companies in recent years, including insurer Humana and diagnostics company LabCorp, to test new health services in its stores. For example, Walgreens offered consumers COVID-19 testing through an expansion of its partnership with LabCorp earlier this year. The opening of physician-staffed offices inside Walgreens stores, where a patient could see a doctor, get prescribed a drug, and have the prescription filled right then and there, certainly raises Walgreens stake as a one-stop healthcare provider.