In the last few years, Walgreens Boots Alliance has shifted its focus from retail pharmacies to physicians.
Walgreens CEO Rosalind Brewer had to convince her board of her plans to shift the company's focus, she told The Wall Street Journal on Feb. 19. The board "wasn’t entirely sold on her plan to save its ailing drugstore business," the report said, so she took the directors on a visit to VillageMD, a chain of primary care clinics.
Walgreens bought a majority stake of VillageMD in 2021 for $5.2 billion, has been expanding its primary care footprint across the U.S. and now has 680 locations in 26 markets.
In 2023 alone, Village MD acquired Dallas Internal Medicine and Geriatrics Specialists and physician practice group Summit Health.
After becoming CEO, "I went deeply into a strategic analysis of what could be next," Ms. Brewer told the Journal. "It was clear to me that, from a strategic standpoint, traditional retail plus the pharmacy business is a very mature business, and at some point we're going to have to have another way to grow revenue."
Amazon and CVS also are looking to primary care to drive growth. In July, Amazon agreed to buy primary care company One Medical for $3.9 billion. The acquisition faces antitrust challenges, though it did clear a recent hurdle in Oregon.
Also in 2022, CVS Health signed a definitive agreement to acquire home health company Signify Health for around $8 billion and has been looking for further footing in the primary care space.