The retail behemoth that is Wal-Mart Stores Inc. is fixing its sights on a new target: the nation’s overstretched and overly costly primary healthcare system. The result could be a major disruption of that system and the acceleration of health reform in America.
While building a 4,500-store retail pharmacy powerhouse in the United States, Walmart also has kept pace with the specialty pharmacy revolution and is positioning itself to play a stronger role in this most innovative, dynamic and complex area of pharmaceutical R&D and bioengineering.
Whole Foods Market on Wednesday announced plans to debut a new store format targeted at millenials. The company said the stores are expected to begin opening next year, and the expansion will be “fairly rapid.”
Global responsibility and sustainability continue to be priorities for Walmart Stores. The company filed its proxy statement ahead of its June 5 annual shareholders meeting, and also issued its annual report, and the 2015 Global Responsibility Report and Global Compliance Program Report.
“Our health-and-wellness experts are leading the way for the future of health care in our stores and beyond.”
For any retail pharmacy provider, that would be a bold, perhaps even overly confident, assertion. But coming as it does from Walmart, it’s something that both the U.S. healthcare system and Walmart’s competitors are taking seriously.
Walmart’s share price will be under pressure in the coming years as a holding company created decades ago by the Walton family to control their ownership of the company prepares to unload as much as 6% of Walmart’s outstanding shares.
Beset by rising costs, a fast-growing elderly population and a critical shortage of primary care doctors, the nation’s health system is desperately in search of ways to lower costs through disease prevention and better access to quality care.
When hurricanes, tornadoes, foods and other disasters strike, where do people turn for help? Retail pharmacies have become a critical community resource in times of great stress, offering food, water, emergency items, medical supplies and healthcare services when most other local businesses are still struggling to reopen or rebuild.