Changing Market The Business of Healthcare

Pharmacies Plan to Take Your Patients


Physicians, think that your competitor is Dr. Smith across the street or the hospital and its 185 captive docs? Think longer term.

In 2014 CVS/pharmacy rebranded as CVS Health.

As of 2014, they operated 850 MinuteClinics staffed with nurse practitioners and physician assistants spread across 29 states.

In 2023, CVS acquired primary care provider Oak Street for $10.6 billion. As of the closing of that deal, Oak Street operated more than 170 clinic locations across 21 states.

CVS’s current plan is to open an additional 50 to 60 Oak Street locations in 2024, some standalone, including in space once occupied by now-closed CVS pharmacy locations, and others co-located within existing CVS stores.

CVS, Walgreens, Walmart, and other large retailers aren’t just “stores”, they are your competitors, perhaps even vicious ones, because they are not your “colleagues.” They are happy to care for whom you imagined were your patients. In addition to their current disruption of what used to be patient visits to primary care physicians, they will eventually expand to other medical specialties and direct what used to be your referrals to them.

Think that sucks? Or do you smell the opportunity?

Depending on what your definition of a “chain” store is, there are almost as many independent pharmacies, around 23,000, as there are stores owned by the national players.

Each of those stores, or affiliated groups of them, can make the same foray into far more of the healthcare market than selling pharmaceuticals.

For the independent pharmacists reading this, there is tremendous opportunity.

For the physicians reading this, at least those who have enough entrepreneurial guts to take action, there’s an opportunity, too. An opportunity to align with (from ownership to joint ventures to other affiliation) non-chain pharmacies.

It’s your choice: Run and hide or run and profit.

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