Walgreens to enter the primary care market with VillageMD partnership
Walgreens is slated to become the first major U.S. pharmacy to offer primary medical care as it plans to open hundreds of full-service doctor offices in its existing stores, thanks to an expanding partnership with VillageMD.
Following a successful small-scale trial of the concept in Texas last year, the Deerfield, Illinois-based pharmacy brand will roll out between 500 and 700 physician-staffed “Village Medical at Walgreens” clinics over the next five years. The plan calls for locations in about 30 U.S. markets.
“People will have access to primary care and the Walgreens experience in the same format. What we’ve found is there’s just this great customer need to have that full service or that integrated health experience,” Walgreens Senior VP and Chief Marketing Officer Patrick McLean said during the Ad Age Next: Retail virtual event on Wednesday.
Of the VillageMD pilot project, McLean said “high demand” was seen for the pharmacy-doctor combination and that Walgreens’ brand resonates in that niche with consumers thanks to the built-in expertise pharmacists offer.
“In a lot of ways, the pharmacist actually sees the patient more frequently and has a very full picture of the customer’s health and wellness needs,” he added, highlighting the convenience of a one-stop-shop healthcare model.
More than half of the new Village Medical at Walgreens locations are set to open in areas that the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services has designated “medically underserved.”