Sunday, October 17, 2021

Walgreens raises stake in VillageMD primary care company with $ 5.2 billion investment

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Walgreens and VillageMD

Source: Walgreens

The Walgreens Boots Alliance said Thursday it has agreed to become the main owner of VillageMD as it opens hundreds of doctor’s offices with the primary care company.

Under the agreement, the pharmacy network will invest $ 5.2 billion in VillageMD. This increases the share of Walgreens from 30% to 63%. VillageMD will remain an independent company with its own board and board of directors.

Walgreens said the deal is awaiting legal approval by the end of this year.

This investment is part of Walgreens ’extensive efforts to transform its stores not only into filling prescriptions, but into medical facilities that have doctors who write them and provide other types of medical care, e.g. , annual inspections. The company is accelerating plans to open rural medical clinics at Walgreens pharmacies. The goal is to have at least 600 primary care clinics in more than 30 U.S. markets by 2025 and 1,000 by 2027.

Walgreens CEO Rose Brewer said in an interview with Bertha Combs that clinics will simplify patient care. He said there will be pharmacists and doctors working together at Walgreens and VillageMD. They will have access to the same technological platform that collects medical records. And they are in a convenient location, a short walk or drive away.

“Your doctor’s recommendations will be shared directly with the pharmacist,” Brewer said. “I think it changes the game when you think about what we can do.”

Most of the clinics are about 3,300 square feet – almost a quarter of the pharmacy’s average size of 13,500 square feet.

Walgreens has about 9,000 stores in the U.S., and more than 75% of Americans live five miles from one of them. Brewer said doctors in the immediate area want to use the permit to reach fewer people. According to him, he plans to open more than half of the VillageMD clinics in urban and rural communities that do not have medical skills.

Walgreens and VillageMD said doctors will accept different types of health insurance and offer a pocket-to-pocket option for people without insurance.

With this move, Walgreens is following in the footsteps of competitors, including CVS Health and Walmart. Many CVS stores already have MinuteClinic, which administers vaccines and offers appointments for emergency medical care. CVS is also turning more stores into HealthHub, which has a wide range of medical services, such as testing for sleep apnea and diabetes management. Walmart is increasing the number of low-cost primary care clinics, but so far they are concentrated in Georgia, Florida and Chicago.

Walgreens and VillageMD have already opened 52 primary health care points and launched 33 by the end of the calendar year. The company announced the partnership for the first time in 2019 and decided to expand the movement after piloting five clinics in the Houston area.

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