Walgreens looking to healthcare to drive growth

Walgreens Boots Alliance CEO Roz Brewer has shared that the company plans to further expand into healthcare in an effort to turn it into a "new growth engine," CNBC reported Oct. 14.

The nearly 9,000 stores nationwide will become places for customers to get medical advice and attend doctor's appointments. The company recently invested in VillageMD, a primary care company that will run the clinics inside Walgreens stores. By the end of the year, Village Medical at Walgreens will be present in 85 stores. By 2027, it plans to have 1,000 clinics in more than 30 U.S. markets, over half of which will be in medically underserved communities. 

"This new Walgreens Health will make a difference and will begin to transform us away from retail and just dispensing pharmaceuticals," Ms. Brewer told CNBC.

The trajectory of Walgreens looks similar to that of major rival CVS Health. However, CVS recently acquired Aetna, meaning it is also an insurance provider. Walgreens CFO James Kehoe said that this lack of insurance company may benefit Walgreens by making it payer-neutral, allowing it to focus solely on improving health outcomes.

Walgreens is beefing up its staff during a period of staffing shortages and supply-chain issues. Mr. Kehoe said that hiring medical professionals has been easier, though, as they are "believing in the vision" for Walgreens Health.

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