Walgreens Complete Care and Well-Being

Walgreens has just announced their offering to push into the on-site clinic market.  It is not completely new for them, but this is certainly a broader offering leveraging several assets they have acquired.

The program’s foundation is the pharmacy and health centers located on employer campuses or manufacturing facilities, along with Take Care’s in-store retail clinics and Walgreens nationwide pharmacies. Take Care’s employer health centers can offer complete pharmacy and health care services ranging from acute (e.g. strep throat) to primary care, occupational health, infusion services, specialty pharmacy, prescription mail services and disease management and are staffed by a combination of Walgreens clinicians including physicians, nurse practitioners, physician assistants, nurses, pharmacists and other health care professionals. Take Care Clinics, walk-in health care clinics open seven days a week and located at neighborhood Walgreens drugstores nationwide, are staffed by nurse practitioners and physician assistants who offer health care services built around a family’s needs.

I have always found this model to make a lot of sense, but it is hard to scale beyond massive employer sites.  In general, I think you have to have at least 1,000 people at one site to even begin to see this as a profitable investment (if I remember my analysis from years ago).

I am not really sure what the “all prices transparent to the employer” means in their press release.  Are they really going to reveal the acquisition cost of drugs?  The cost of their private label medications?  The cost of a clinic visit?  I am not sure that’s necessary.

Providing convenience without increasing costs should be enough.  Employees will love it.  Of course, I have heard that once you put it in that it is impossible to pull these out without very negative employee reaction.  And, I do believe that convenience (as it does with 90-day Rxs) can help improve adherence with mixed with the right education and counseling.

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