has unveiled a new digital platform to connect customers
to medical services, just weeks after its stock dove on
news that Amazon is expanding into the pharmacy
Ill.-based Walgreensí new Find Care Now platform,
available online and on the pharmacy chainís app,
allows patients to schedule appointments at its in-store
Advocate clinics, talk with doctors and therapists
through telehealth company MDLIVE, and schedule online
dermatology appointments through online dermatology
service DermatologistOnCall. Patients can also get
second opinions through the NewYork-Presbyterian health
care system and make eye and hearing appointments at
Walgreens stores. In other parts of the country,
Walgreens has partnered with a number of other regional
health care providers.
platform lists prices for the services, before
insurance, and it lists the nearest locations and wait
only makes sense for us to make it even easier for
consumers to access different health care services that
we or our partners provide, and to do that based on
where they are, based on their health conditions,"
said Giovanni Monti, Walgreens Boots Alliance vice
president and director of health care innovation.
asked whether the offering is related to Amazonís push
into the pharmacy business, Monti said, "Weíre
very, very focused on our product development and
strategy and weíre, of course, very aware of whatís
happening in the market, but we do what we believe is
right for our customers and augments or accelerates our
platform has been in development for "some
time," said spokesman Jim Cohn.
lost about $6 billion in value in one day, last month,
when Amazon announced it was acquiring PillPack, an
online pharmacy headquartered in Massachusetts. Shares
of CVS Health and Rite Aid fell as well that day. The
drop came despite fiscal third-quarter earnings for
Walgreens that beat expectations.
an earnings call that same day, Walgreens executives
expressed confidence in their strategy, with Walgreens
Boots Alliance CEO Stefano Pessina saying physical
pharmacies will continue to be "very, very
important in the future."
serves patients who take multiple medications, sorting
those medications into individual packets and then
mailing them to patients. The company also coordinates
refills and renewals. PillPack is already in-network
with many major pharmacy benefit managers and is also
in-network with most Medicare Part D plans, according to
and industry watchers had been keeping an eye on Amazonís
potential entry into the pharmacy space for some time
Ė though a number of analysts have said that the
marketís sharp response to the PillPack news last
month was an overreaction.
least for the foreseeable future, thereís going to be
a role for the local pharmacies, because, after all,
this is a relationship business," said John Boylan,
a senior equity analyst for Edward Jones.
expects Walgreens will continue to forge partnerships
with others in the health care industry and continue
expanding its in-store services. He said the new
platform is yet another way for Walgreens to connect
still too early to figure out what Amazonís ultimate
move is Ö but anything that can bring a customer to a
site or a store is a good thing, regardless of what
happens," Boylan said.