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Walgreens makes a home in Brooklyn with 7,000th store

BY DSN STAFF

NEW YORK So, who’s bigger — CVS or Walgreens?

 

That’s kind of a funny question really, and not just because both companies opened their 7,000 stores within one week of each other. Or, even because, both companies already operate more than 7,000 stores apiece.

 

 

It’s because it really doesn’t matter anymore who has the most stores. That’s really only one way to measure these companies; the stores are really just one component of a much bigger health care play.

 

 

Think of it as a wheel: the stores are one spoke; the clinics are another; specialty pharmacy, another; mail order, another; for CVS, a huge PBM is another; for Walgreens, a major presence in worksite care and home infusion is another spoke. The stores, in themselves, do not drive the wheel any more than any other single spoke on the wheel. Health care and the delivery of it, is what drives the wheel. And that, ultimately, is how these two companies will come to be measured.

 

 

Just listen to what the leadership of these two companies has to say about it. Walgreens talks about leveraging 8,000 points of care. “Our platform for delivering pharmacy and health and wellness services, now extends to 7,000 drug stores, a specialty pharmacy and home infusion network, and worksite health centers and retail clinics,” Wasson said. “With that foundation, we’re taking Walgreens directly to employers, government entities, managed care companies and PBMs.”

 

 

Its new deal with Caterpillar, announced in late August, under which Walgreens is providing the company’s beneficiaries with special pricing is a prime example of that, Wasson added. “We are certainly encouraged by the traction this approach is getting in the market,” he said. “Plenty of other companies are talking to us about similar programs because of this compelling offer.”

 

 

Meanwhile, “MinuteClinic is a microcosm of what you want in healthcare reform,” explained CVS Caremark chairman, president and CEO Tom Ryan, during a recent earnings call. “It’s accessible, it’s affordable and it’s good quality, which are all things that the administration and Congress were talking about.”

 

So, who’s bigger? For the record, Walgreens was at 7,042 stores the day it celebrated in Brooklyn. By Monday, CVS will have 7,016 stores.

 

But if that’s the way you’re keeping scoring, you’re watching the wrong game.

 

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CVS Caremark to distribute free seasonal flu-shot vouchers to the unemployed

BY Allison Cerra

WOONSOCKET, R.I. In response to the current economic state, CVS Caremark announced it has begun to provide 100,000 free seasonal flu shots to the unemployed as part of its efforts to help keep Americans healthy this flu season. The initiative kicks off Thursday at The Work Place, a member of the Massachusetts Career One-Stop Initiative in Boston.

In more than 20 markets across the country, CVS Caremark will offer vouchers for free seasonal flu shots worth a total of $3 million. The vouchers will be distributed at participating One-Stop Career Centers and other select employment training agencies that offer career resources, training, and workforce information to job seekers, students, and businesses.

Beginning the week of Oct. 5, participating employment centers will offer free flu shot vouchers for distribution to their unemployed clients. The vouchers can be redeemed at CVS/pharmacy stores during a scheduled flu shot clinic or at MinuteClinic health centers located within select CVS/pharmacy stores during their regular hours of operation; no appointment necessary. Free flu shot vouchers will not be available at CVS/pharmacy or MinuteClinic.

Participating employment centers are located in California, Connecticut, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Rhode Island, Texas, Virginia and Washington, D.C.

“The unemployed are particularly vulnerable this flu season, as many lack health insurance or employer coverage for a flu shot. We are excited to get this program underway and to start providing protection for this group as early in the flu season as possible,” said Troyen A. Brennan, M.D., chief medical officer for CVS Caremark.

More information on contacting the individual employment centers participating in the free flu voucher program can be found at www.cvs.com/flu.

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Walgreens opens 7,000th store in Brooklyn, N.Y.

BY Allison Cerra

DEERFIELD, Ill. Walgreens is celebrating the grand opening Thursday of its 7,000th store.

Brooklyn, N.Y. state and local officials will welcome the retailer to another New York neighborhood during a ribbon-cutting ceremony at noon Eastern time. The new store in the Gravesend neighborhood, near iconic Coney Island.

As part of the grand opening, the AARP/Walgreens Wellness Tour is offering free health screenings to all adult attendees and flu shot vouchers to uninsured adults in the store’s parking lot today. The appearance by the customized, traveling health-screening bus is part of a nationwide tour of nine vehicles to deliver free health screenings across the country for early detection and prevention of diseases, as well as health education. Screenings test for total cholesterol level, blood pressure, bone density, glucose levels and body mass index.

The Coney Island-themed grand opening will feature a ribbon cutting ceremony, food, music and entertainment. Guest speakers include Brooklyn borough president Marty Markowitz and other state and local officials. Walgreens also will donate $7,000 to Lenny’s Lighthouse, a Brooklyn charity that provides support to people with disabilities.

“For the last decade we have focused on finding the best corners in America to provide consumer goods and pharmacy and health and wellness services,” said Walgreens president and CEO Greg Wasson. “Today, more than 50% of the U.S. population lives within two miles of a Walgreens and close to 75% lives within five miles.”

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