Pharmacy chain Walgreens plans to partner with diagnostics giant LabCorp to open at least 600 testing centers inside Walgreens retail locations over the next four years.
The move is an expansion of an existing partnership between Walgreens Boots Alliance and LabCorp in 17 Walgreens' locations that began in June 2017. Those LabCorp centers at Walgreens locations—in Florida, Colorado, North Carolina and Illinois—offer specimen collection services for LabCorp testing in a convenient and "secure, comfortable environment," officials said.
This effort to bring direct-to-consumer lab-testing services is part of a broader effort by the company to expand from retail into healthcare service companies. Notably, Walgreens tried to bring testing services to its stores several years ago, testing technology from the now-disgraced blood-testing startup Theranos in some of its locations in Arizona.
“This reflects our commitment to transform our stores into neighborhood health destinations that provide a differentiated, consumer-focused experience, while providing access to a broad range of affordable health care services at a trusted and convenient setting,” said Stefano Pessina, executive vice chairman and CEO of Walgreens Boots Alliance, in a statement. Walgreens operates approximately 9,800 drugstores and approximately 400 offer healthcare clinics or other provider retail clinic services.
It also comes on the heels of news that the US Department of Justice gave its OK to rival CVS to merge with Aetna, part of that company's stated promise to "remake the consumer healthcare experience" by marrying the consumer to one of the country’s largest pharmacy services chains with the data of one of the largest for-profit health insurers.
Meanwhile, LabCorp's chairman and CEO called Walgreens a "central piece" of the $10 billion lab company's expanding consumer strategy.
The companies said they are considering further collaborations to expand health-related services, including novel approaches to clinical research, finding ways to help consumers "take a greater role in their own health and well-being" and enabling the ongoing transition to value-based care.