Walgreens offer catapults chain to diabetes care stardom

WHAT IT MEANS AND WHY IT'S IMPORTANT It has been coined "The Oprah Effect" and it is the notion that if you're lucky enough to get a thumbs up by Oprah on "The Oprah Winfrey Show," her viewers will heed her call and run -- not walk -- to buy your product or services. Walgreens and its Take Care Clinic business are among the latest to be graced with the icon's million-dollar touch.

(THE NEWS: Oprah: Go to Walgreens and get your glucose checked. For the full story, click here)

As the article states, Oprah announced on Feb. 4 that Walgreens is offering free blood glucose testing at its 24-hour stores and Take Care Clinics nationwide and urged viewers to visit their nearest Walgreens to get tested.

With the number of diabetes cases nationwide increasing 90% over the past decade, diabetes has become the fastest-growing disease in the United States. In fact, it is estimated that more than 6 million Americans are unaware that they currently are living with diabetes, according to the American Diabetes Association.

It may be an understatement to say that Walgreens can expect to give away a lot of free screenings, as the top-rated talk show is watched by an estimated 42 million viewers a week in the United States alone. But that's okay; Walgreens and Take Care will make it up in patient engagements, potentially converting a lot of them to regular Walgreens customers.

One can bet that Walgreens is going to find a two-second sound bite on Oprah worth more than any 30-second TV commercial. How does Visa put it? Oh yeah, priceless.

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