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CVS to Buy Big Player in Retail Health Clinic Market

WOONSOCKET, R.I. -- CVS Corp. here said yesterday that it agreed to purchase Minneapolis-based MinuteClinic, the largest provider of retail-based health clinics in the United States. MinuteClinic will operate as a wholly owned subsidiary of CVS.

The two firms are no strangers. There are currently 83 MinuteClinics in 10 states, 66 of which are within CVS/pharmacy locations.

Staffed by certified nurse practitioners and physician assistants, MinuteClinic locations provide treatment for such common family illnesses as strep throat, ear infections, poison ivy, and pink eye. They also provide some common vaccinations. MinuteClinic said the health clinics are intended to supplement, not replace, a patient's ongoing relationship with a medical doctor. MinuteClinic keeps a record of primary care practices accepting new patients, and gives lists to patients who don't have a primary care physician.

MinuteClinic first began working with CVS more than 18 months ago, according to MinuteClinic c.e.o. Michael Howe.

MinuteClinic will keep operating clinics in CVS/pharmacy and other retail locations, among them existing Bartell Drug, Cub Foods, and QFC locations, and at new retail hosts as well as corporate and government offices. MinuteClinic's headquarters will stay in Minneapolis and the existing management team won't change.

Completion of the transaction is expected this summer. The financial terms of the agreement were not revealed. Evercore Partners and Lehman Brothers advised CVS in the transaction.

CVS is America's largest retail pharmacy, operating more than 6,100 retail and specialty pharmacy stores in 44 states and the District of Columbia.
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