Pegus will lead Walgreens' 21st century growth strategy

WHAT IT MEANS AND WHY IT'S IMPORTANT It was only a matter of time.

(THE NEWS: Walgreens taps clinician for new medical post. For the full story, click here)

Walgreens has taken another big, and perhaps inevitable, step on the road to becoming a fully integrated, full-service, health-and-wellness provider to employers and other health-plan payers. Last week, the pharmacy and health titan revealed it had hired a highly regarded physician with a background in cardiology, medical products and innovative clinical practice approaches to become the company’s first chief medical officer.

Cheryl Pegus will drive big-picture health issues for Walgreens as it pursues its 21st century growth strategy as a cost-effective, broad-based solution to the health-and-wellness needs of patients and their health-plan sponsors. Her focus, said Walgreens, will be on “driving clinical outcomes that improve patient lives, provide value and offer a platform for future innovation and growth.”

Pegus will work within Walgreen’s health and wellness division headed by SVP Hal Rosenbluth.

Chief medical officer is not the kind of executive post a traditional drug store operator would need to fill. But it underscores Walgreens’ new and even revolutionary approach to pharmacy and health retailing, with its broad emphasis on “clinical outcomes” rather than just prescription therapy — and on patient wellness and cost-effectiveness, rather than just on disease management, as important as that is.

Pegus’ entry likely will lead to an expanded list of health and prevention offerings at Walgreens’ more than 8.000 “points of care,” said Rosenbluth. “That includes the potential for new diagnostic screenings and other point-of-care services at pharmacies, retail clinics and worksite health centers that can develop an ongoing relationship between patients and Walgreens,” he said.

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