Walgreens CEO: We will make healthcare our ‘new engine of growth’

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The plan calls for the opening of hundreds of primary care clinics, the reorganization of its selection of display products and the acquisition of stakes in several health care companies. (Photo: Ken Wolter / Shutterstock)

Walgreens Boots Alliance, the holding company that owns the Walgreens drugstore chain, is creating a new division called Walgreens Health.

The announcement came during a virtual investor day on October 14 where Roz Brewer, the new CEO of Walgreens Boots Alliance, said the company’s nearly 9,000 stores in the United States will become a health care center for its clients – with an accommodation doctor. appointments and tests for infections such as pneumonia, strep and HIV.

She called the increased focus on healthcare as a “new growth engine” for the company.

Related: Primary Care Is Coming To A Walgreens Near You

“This new Walgreens Health will make a difference and [begin] to move away from retailing and just distributing pharmaceuticals, ”she said in an interview with CNBC. “It will be about the lives we manage, the lives we touch and the lives we can wrap doctor[s] and clinicians in our buildings, both physically and digitally.

According to CNBC:

  • The plan calls for the opening of hundreds of primary care clinics, the reorganization of its selection of display products and the acquisition of stakes in several health care companies.
  • Walgreens said it will have 85 primary care clinics in its stores by the end of the year. They will be under the name Village Medical at Walgreens. It plans to have at least 600 doctor’s offices in more than 30 US markets by 2025 and 1,000 by 2027. More than half of them will be in medically underserved areas of the country.
  • In some stores and online it will add Walgreens Health Corners. In-store spaces will be staffed with healthcare professionals, such as nurses and pharmacists, who will be able to consult with patients and help them manage chronic illnesses.
  • So far, Walgreens has opened 40. It plans to have more than 100 by the end of this fiscal year and eventually have more than 3,000 in its stores.

Brian Tanquilut, an equity research analyst for financial services firm Jefferies, put on his healthcare hat and told CNBC the strategy made sense.

“[Walgreens] makes the pharmacy a health center, ”he said. “Instead of focusing on retail, the value engine is no longer the engine [prescriptions] out of the pharmacy. It is actually about providing care and retaining the patient in the store.

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