Walgreens is making another major health care investment during the pandemic, having entered into an agreement to sell Pixel by Labcorp COVID-19 PCR Test Home Collection Kits over the counter in up to 6,000 Walgreens stores nationwide, beginning in spring of this year.
Targeting stores that don’t have testing on-site, the kit will be Walgreens first over-the-counter COVID-19 testing option available for purchase in-store. This builds upon Walgreens and Labcorp’s recent rollout of Pixel by Labcorp COVID-19 PCR Test Home Collection Kits on Walgreens Find Care, a digital health platform available on the Walgreens app and website.
“Increasing access to COVID-19 testing continues to be a priority for Walgreens,” said John Standley, president of Walgreens. “Working with Labcorp, we can now offer testing solutions at a majority of Walgreens locations nationwide. This is another example of the power of innovative collaboration to drive greater access to care and products, and we look forward to continuing to work with Labcorp to provide health products and services to our communities.”
Customers age 18 or older will be able to purchase the Pixel by Labcorp COVID-19 PCR Test Home Collection Kit at the pharmacy counter without a prescription. Once the kit is purchased, customers can self-administer the test collection using a short nasal swab and send the sample back to Labcorp via pre-paid FedEx Express Overnight. Test results are accessed by the customer via the Pixel by Labcorp website.
If a COVID-19 test is positive, a Labcorp-verified health care staff member will contact individuals directly by phone or mail to discuss next steps. Pixel by Labcorp has contracted with a physician network to provide independent physician services for consultation.
“Labcorp is pleased to extend our strategic collaboration with Walgreens to now include over-the-counter sale of Pixel by Labcorp COVID-19 PCR Test Home Collection Kits,” said Brian Caveney, M.D., chief medical officer and president of Burlington, North Carolina-based Labcorp Diagnostics. “This is yet another convenient way for consumers to learn if they are infected with COVID-19, which can help communities continue the fight against this global pandemic.”
With reported revenue of $14 billion in FY2020, Labcorp is a global life sciences company that provides information to help doctors, hospitals, pharmaceutical companies, researchers and patients make decisions. Its COVID-19 PCR test has been authorized by the FDA under an emergency-use authorization only for the detection of nucleic acid from SARS-CoV-2, not for any other viruses or pathogens. The test is authorized only for the duration of the declaration that circumstances exist justifying the authorization of emergency use.
Meanwhile, Walgreens has provided more than 3 million COVID-19 vaccinations across long-term care facilities, as well as additional vulnerable populations. It began in-store vaccinations in 17 states and jurisdictions as part of the Federal Retail Pharmacy Program on Feb. 12.
The retailer is also accelerating its investments in Chicago-based VillageMD to support the opening of 600 to 700 Village Medical at Walgreens primary care clinics in more than 30 U.S. markets within the next four years, with the intent to build hundreds more thereafter. Walgreens is the first national pharmacy chain to offer full-service primary care clinics co-located at its stores at a large scale.
Additionally, Walgreens recently expanded its on-demand delivery solutions with San Francisco-based Instacart to residents across Illinois. The retailer plans to roll out the service nationwide to nearly 8,000 stores over the coming weeks to allow easy access to such items as over-the-counter medications, health-and-wellness items, beauty and personal care products, household essentials, and fresh and dry groceries.
Walgreens reported fiscal 2021 first-quarter sales of $36.3 billion, an increase of 5.7% from the year-ago quarter.
Deerfield, Illinois-based Walgreens is included in the Retail Pharmacy USA division of Walgreens Boots Alliance Inc. The drug store chain operates more than 9,000 retail locations across the United States, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands, serving about 8 million customers daily. Walgreens is No. 4 on The PG 100, Progressive Grocer’s 2020 list of the top food retailers in North America.