We are making healthcare more equitable, everywhere and for everyone, with a new, transformational consumer-centric healthcare strategy.
In 2021, we looked at how to make healthcare more equitable and focused our efforts in two key areas: improving access to affordable, quality healthcare, and raising awareness of critical health issues. We’re helping combat opioid abuse and prevent overdose-related deaths, working to reduce hygiene poverty, and forging partnerships to help support people living with cancer.
Volunteer hours logged by WBA employees*
COVID-19 vaccinations administered
Raised for Red Nose Day
People participated in Walgreens Health Care initiatives
Contributed to Susan G. Komen and The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society by Walgreens
Worth of flu vouchers donated worldwide
* During fiscal 2021.
We have big ambitions for healthcare and want to bring services to people in a way that’s best for them, whether in-person or online. We are raising awareness of healthcare challenges, with an aim to become a leading provider of local clinical care services globally.
In the U.S., we’ve advocated for drug price transparency, passing on savings to patients at the pharmacy counter and for an enhanced role for pharmacists to help patients find best-priced options. In the UK, Ireland, and Germany, we’ve focused on culturally competent care.
We’ve used our retail pharmacies and brands and partnered with non-profit groups and government agencies on campaigns to help patients take control of their own health, incentivizing healthy behavior and of course, improving access to vaccines. We’re leveraging our network and working with communities to provide local clinical care services, addressing all dimensions of physical, emotional and mental health. For our own employees, we’re committed to providing quality, affordable healthcare and services for improved health outcomes.
We understand that the key to making real change is to work with advocacy groups, charities and experts within the communities we serve.
For 13 years, we’ve worked with the First Ladies Health Initiative in the U.S. to address health disparities in Black and Brown neighborhoods. In 2021, our focus was on COVID-19, and we set up bi-weekly immunization clinics for COVID-19 and flu vaccinations.
We also helped more than 400,000 people get screened for conditions including hypertension, diabetes, HIV and more.
This year, COVID-19 made it harder for many people to get to a doctor for vital HIV tests. In support of National HIV Testing Day, we worked with Greater Than AIDS and OraSure Technologies, to provide more than 5,000 donated OraQuick In-Home HIV Tests to 175 health departments and HIV/AIDS service organizations across the U.S.
In Thailand, we launched a study into access to HIV self-testing and now have a pilot program in place to provide rapid, private HIV testing and get access to treatment, if necessary.
There are currently around 900,000 people living with dementia in the UK, and this figure is projected to rise to 1.6 million by 2040. In the UK and Ireland, our Boots stores have worked with the Alzheimer's Society to learn about the common challenges facing people living with dementia in a store environment to make the whole experience more comforting and less intimidating. We now have more than 28,900 Dementia Friends – at least one in each store – who have easily identifiable badges to support customers and patients.
In 2021, we announced our new vision for healthcare - a consumer centric strategy, providing equitable, personalized, whole-person healthcare for local communities. This takes advantage of our existing technology and pharmacy network to deliver more value-based care, including vaccinations, diagnostic testing, chronic care management and specialty management.
As one of the largest companies in the world dispensing medication and other healthcare services, we have a unique opportunity to make a difference in this space – especially in areas with large populations of uninsured and underinsured people. In these spaces we’re bringing vaccinations, diagnostic testing, chronic care management and specialty management care.
In 2021, we started looking at how we could use technology to drive greater access to healthcare services and products for everyone.
We created new omni-channel experiences, such as the myWalgreens app in the U.S., to help patients digitally and in stores. In the UK and Ireland, we released the Boots Health Hub, which gives customers access to nearly 100 different healthcare services, including healthcare tests, COVID-19 services, vaccinations, prescriptions, online general practitioner consultations and more.
Retail pharmacies are increasingly becoming places for patients to seek treatment or preventive care. With thousands of retail pharmacies, healthcare service providers and nearly 35,000 pharmacists around the world, we can provide unique services and resources to patients who need them. We provide a wide range of pharmacy services including retail, specialty, medical facility, mail, online and mobile.
Our pharmacists are on the front lines of neighborhood healthcare, providing medication management, administering vaccinations, and partnering with health systems to advance health and wellness. We see our role as an integral part of a patient’s healthcare team and aim to deepen this partnership to improve patient health outcomes, especially for chronic and complex conditions.
We know that the high cost of prescription medications often leads people to miss doses or even abandon their prescriptions entirely. By looking again at our supply chain and with copay assistance, we’ve been able to cut the cost of medication in the U.S. and help people stay on track.
So far, we’ve helped approximately 923,000 patients in the U.S. secure more than $436 million in copay assistance for prescriptions in 2021.
In Chile, we launched the Ahumada Contigo (Ahumada With You) access program that now has more than 700 commonly used products that people can purchase at significantly lower prices.
The high-quality generics Almus brand is now available in Mexico with 335 products available.
A triage solution means we can seamlessly care for patients through the right channel for them and we’re constantly reviewing our prices to make sure our products are accessible to patients with diabetes, high cholesterol, and high blood pressure.
The opioid abuse crisis has continued to grow, with COVID-19 a contributing factor. More than 69,000 people died in the U.S. from opioid overdoses in 2020*, devastating families and entire communities. We have worked with representatives at all levels of government, public agencies, research organizations and industry groups to drive and influence legislation related to prescription opioids.
As part of these efforts, we’ve partnered with US WorldMeds to stock Lucemyra (lofexidine) tablets in Walgreens pharmacies across the U.S – an FDA-approved, non-opioid, non-addictive treatment for relief of multiple symptoms of opioid withdrawal in adults. We also take part in the National Prescription Drug Take Back Day in all Walgreens stores.
* 2020 figure according to data from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
Opioid Overdose Antidote Naloxene kits dispensed by Walgreens
Safe medication disposal kiosks in Walgreens locations
Take-home safe medication disposal kits shipped to stores since May 2019
437 metric tonnes
Of unwanted medication disposed of in 2021
We have set up long-term partnerships at national and international levels to tackle health issues like malnutrition, disease prevention and cancer support. These are improving the lives of hundreds of millions of vulnerable people, especially women and children. These partnerships and the good they do around the world are a crucial element of our purpose to help people live more joyful lives through better health.