Founded in 1901, Walgreens goal is to be consumers’ first choice for health and daily living across the nation, and a central part of people’s lives and the communities where they live and work. The company provides the most convenient, multi-channel access to goods and services, and pharmacy, health and wellness services while developing a new customer experience.
Our vision is to become “My Walgreens” for everyone in America by transforming the traditional drugstore into a health and daily living destination that offers a range of products and services to help customers get, stay and live well. Our pharmacies – on the front lines of health care in America – serve as a centerpiece in improving patients’ overall health, and improving access to care and lowering costs through an expanded scope of community-based health and wellness solutions.
The core, fundamental strengths of our company, developed over more than a century, include the best, most convenient store network in America and our trusted and iconic brand.
In 2011, Walgreens introduced its Well Experience store format, which offers a new, enhanced layout, a completely revamped pharmacy and health care experience and a number of new product selections. We currently have the new format in select locations in Chicago, in a market-wide pilot in Indianapolis and in some Duane Reade locations in New York City.
At the core of this approach is an effort to bring the pharmacist out from behind the counter so they can provide more counseling to patients, offer clinical services and answer questions. By advancing the role of the community pharmacist in this way, we believe we can create better health outcomes, prevent hospitalizations and save money for patients, employers, insurers and the health care system.
In addition, transforming the customer experience at our stores through the interaction of our team members and a new Health Guide role will help Walgreens become more than a drugstore, but a trusted resource and health partner for every part of our customer’s shopping, pharmacy and health care journey.
Health and Wellness services
Many important health care services once solely rendered at a doctor's office such as Centers for Disease Control and Prevention-recommended immunizations and health tests are now available on a walk-in basis through our community pharmacies. Walgreens provides a broad range of health care and clinical services as extensions of our traditional pharmacy services.
Through our pharmacies and health centers, we advanced our leadership in providing flu shots and other immunizations, as we continued to serve as the No. 1 provider of flu shots other than the federal government.
In addition to an extensive immunizations program, Walgreens in 2011 expanded its preventive health care services by adding testing for total cholesterol and HDL (high-density lipoprotein), blood glucose and A1C at more than 1,600 pharmacies in 33 states. Each test includes a free blood pressure reading and personal consultation with a Walgreens pharmacist.
Walgreens pharmacies also provide medication adherence services, counseling and other assistance that help lower medical costs by improving outcomes. Walgreens is the nation’s leading provider of home infusion and a major provider of specialty pharmacy services, providing cost-effective solutions for patients who need infused medication, including chemotherapy, respiratory services and oxygen at home or in other ambulatory settings. In addition, Walgreens is the nation’s leading operator of hospital outpatient pharmacies, serving about 180 health systems nationwide.
Serving customers better
We offer patients a way to stretch their dollars and maintain their prescriptions in one place without sacrificing the safety, service or convenience of their nearby neighborhood drugstore. One example of this customer-centered philosophy is the successful re-launch of our Prescription Savings Club, which goes well beyond the discount generic drug programs offered at other retailers. Members receive discounts on more than 8,000 brand name and generic medications, with more than 700 value-priced generics for as low as about $1 per week for a 90-day supply.
Additional benefits of the program include discounts on services at Take Care Clinics in select Walgreens stores and most immunizations such as a flu shot. The program also is a great option for pet owners, with discounts on select pet medications with a human equivalent. In addition, the program offers a 10 percent bonus on Walgreens, W and Nice! brand products. The Walgreens Prescription Savings Club program currently saves members on average $170 per year and is available through all of the more than 7,900 Walgreens stores nationwide.
Meanwhile, we have expanded our private brand product offerings, which provide greater value to customers. These brands include Well at Walgreens health and wellness products; Finest Nutrition vitamins and supplements; Nice! grocery and household products; Good & Delish™ premium snacks and beverages; petshoppe pet supplies; and Studio 35 Beauty products.
We continue to offer competitively priced consumables, whose sales have been very strong, particularly for fast, easy, midweek fill-in needs in our conveniently located retail stores. Walgreens has also introduced fresh food at hundreds of locations. In conjunction with efforts by First Lady Michelle Obama and the Partnership for a Healthier America to fight the childhood obesity epidemic and provide better food options and accessible health care to under-served communities, Walgreens has committed to convert or open at least 1,000 food oasis stores across the country over the next five years. Walgreens currently offers food oasis locations in Chicago, San Francisco, Oakland and Indianapolis.
Walgreens remains among the fastest growing retailers in the country with an anticipated organic growth rate of between 1.5 and 2.5 percent in 2013. Our health clinics and growing specialty pharmacy business complement our drugstores. We now operate more than 700 health and wellness clinics in our stores and on employer worksites. Our health centers on or near employer campuses offer diverse services including primary and acute care; wellness, pharmacy and disease management services; and health and fitness programming. Employers recognize the significant value and cost savings these centers can provide.
Specialty pharmacy is the fastest growing sector of pharmacy and complements our core retail pharmacies. We’ve built our specialty business primarily through acquisitions. Most recently, Walgreens acquired BioScrip, Inc.’s community specialty pharmacies and centralized specialty and mail service pharmacy businesses. The community specialty pharmacy business includes a national network with 30 locations in 16 states across the U.S. and the District of Columbia, primarily serving HIV, oncology and transplant patients.
In 2010 Walgreens acquired the Duane Reade drugstore chain in New York City, and immediately began building many of its unique “urban retailing” and store design concepts into Walgreens stores across the country. In turn, Walgreens powered Duane Reade’s pharmacy operations with the best of Walgreens systems and expertise.
Building on our core business, we advanced our multi-channel strategy with the acquisition of a leading e-commerce site, drugstore.com, in 2011. Walgreens gained not only the drugstore.com and Beauty.com websites and their customer service and distribution centers, but also access to more than 3 million online customers and 60,000 drug, health, beauty and skincare products – expanding our already strong online offering. We also introduced our new “Web Pickup” services at many locations, enabling customers to shop online and pick up their orders at a store in as little as an hour.
A history of innovation
Walgreens pioneered many modern store and pharmacy features, many of which have become standards in the industry. Among those concepts are:
• Computerized pharmacies connected nationwide, introduced in 1981 by Walgreens with its Intercom computer system.
• Point-of-sale scanning — completed chain wide in 1991.
• Freestanding stores with drive-thru pharmacies, introduced in the early 1990s. When Walgreens entered the Indianapolis market in 1992, initially with seven freestanding stores with drive-thru service, it was a watershed development. Since 1994, most new Walgreens have included a drive-thru pharmacy, and today the vast majority of Walgreens stores offer this convenience.
• Expanded convenience food and drink section for the "pick-up-a-loaf-of-bread-on-the-way-home" customer.
• Nationwide rollout of digital photo services, available at virtually all Walgreens stores.
• "Touch-Tone Prefills." Patients can use an automated phone system to request prescription refills and a pickup time. This information is fed directly into the pharmacy's work queue. Prescriptions can also be refilled online as needed or through Auto Refills, which automatically refill your prescription and sends an e-mail reminder when it's ready.
• “Refill by Scan,” a feature Walgreens introduced more recently that allows customers to refill their prescription by using their smartphone to scan the bar code on the old bottle. The scanned prescription can be sent to the nearest Walgreens for immediate pickup.
• Prescription label instructions printed in any of 14 languages, a service introduced chain wide in 2002.
• Large-type prescription instructions, introduced in 2004. Walgreens became the first drugstore chain to offer this innovation, which benefits the more than 16 million Americans with some form of vision impairment. The service is available free of charge in both English and Spanish.
• Express Pay, which allows prescriptions to be automatically charged to the patient's credit card. This helps speed up the transaction and makes it easier for caregivers to pick up the patient's prescription.
• “Find Your Pharmacist,” an online tool that allows customers to select a pharmacist by matching their health care needs with the areas of expertise, specialties, languages and clinical backgrounds of Walgreens pharmacists. Many of these areas of expertise are highlighted within individual pharmacist profiles and include medication adherence, immunizations, diabetes management, children’s health, wellness education, medication side effects, HIV care and more.
We are a company that understands we serve our customers and patients best if our workforce reflects the diversity of our world. Core values of dignity and mutual respect are the foundation for providing a workplace that embraces the individuality of all employees and the communities we serve. We recruit service-oriented, skilled and diverse individuals so that our patients and customers find the experience they expect in our stores. Find more information at the Walgreens Diversity website.
Walgreens also is leading the industry in employing people with special needs. We’ve designed our warehouses to accommodate workers with physical and cognitive disabilities. We launched this new design at our Anderson, S.C., distribution center, which opened in 2007. The model was used again when Walgreens opened a distribution center in Windsor , Conn., in 2009. More than 40 percent of the workforce at these two facilities have a physical or cognitive disability such as autism or mental retardation. Learn more at Walgreens Disability Outreach website.
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