Walgreens to roll out health clinics next to stores

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The retailer is teaming up with primary care provider VillageMD

Walgreens announced Wednesday that it’s partnering with primary care provider VillageMD to open clinics next to drugstores in the Houston area, with the potential for a nationwide rollout.

The clinics, called “Village Medical at Walgreens,” will be geared towards adult and senior patients. The first locations are scheduled to open by the end of the year. At the clinics, consumers will find “comprehensive primary care services, integrated tightly with pharmacists, nurses and social workers to meet the full suite of patient needs,” the companies said.

“This collaboration with VillageMD demonstrates our ongoing commitment to create neighborhood health destinations that bring affordable health care services to customers and provide a differentiated patient experience to the communities we serve,” Walgreens Chief Medical Officer, Pat Carroll, said in a statement.

Integrating clinics and drugstores

Walgreens’ rival CVS, which currently operates more than 1,000 MinuteClinics, has also said it envisions adding health services following its Aetna acquisition. Two years ago, Aetna CEO Mark Bertolini suggested that CVS retail locations could become similar to Apple’s Genius Bar, where customers could walk into a store and get help.

“I think this is the kind of idea we want to create in the stores,” Bertolini said in a 2017 conference call with investors.

CNBC notes that the drugstores’ planned health services expansions come amid declining sales of traditional drugstore products, like greeting cards and candy.

“The integration of primary care and pharmacy is yet another example of the value-based commitment that Walgreens and VillageMD demonstrate to customers, patients and the broader healthcare landscape,” VillageMD CEO Tim Barry said in a statement.

Walgreens and VillageMD said they will “continue to explore expansion in Houston and other markets” following the initial five-clinic opening in 2019.

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