WBA engages with local communities to improve health and well-being, and partners with healthcare-focused organizations to maximize impact in low income countries.
The global pandemic has underscored our approach to CSR, which is centered in healthcare. Through our businesses and our CSR programs, we continue to work to improve access to affordable, quality healthcare, and to raise awareness about critical health issues. We also continue our efforts to help combat opioid abuse and prevent overdose-related deaths.
Through our partnerships, we tackle important health issues such as supporting people living with cancer during every moment of their journey and empowering young people across the world to achieve their potential.
We support the following United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs):
- Affordable Healthcare
- Health Education
- Opioid Abuse and Prevention
- Partnerships for Good
- Giving Back
Discover some of the main ways we are working to transform healthcare by bringing critical services to communities, in-person and digitally.
As one of the largest companies in the world dispensing and distributing medications, and through our delivery of other healthcare services, WBA is uniquely positioned to make an impact on healthcare access and affordability. Through our business activities, advocacy work and CSR initiatives we work to improve healthcare access for millions of people.
Retail pharmacies are often the first place that a patient goes for treatment or preventive care. Amid the global pandemic, we see our role as being an integral part of our patient’s healthcare team to support with improving health outcomes, especially for chronic diseases and complex conditions.
Walgreens Boots Alliance provides a unique resource through:
- Thousands of retail pharmacies around the world
- More than 120,000 healthcare service providers among our employees, with 36,000 of these being registered pharmacists
- A wealth of pharmacy services; including retail, specialty, medical facility, mail, online and mobile
Our pharmacists are on the front lines of neighborhood healthcare in local communities; providing medication management, administering vaccinations and partnering with health systems to advance health and wellness.
To meet the heightened need for healthcare access during the COVID-19 pandemic, we worked with governments to implement COVID-19 testing and administer vaccinations. Our pharmacists and pharmacy teams contacted hundreds of thousands of vulnerable patients to ensure they were aware of delivery and other options for receiving their prescriptions and to connect them to manufacturer co-pay and financial assistance programs if needed.
Our businesses are continuously innovating to provide convenient access to medication and essential items in an age of increased digitalization. With online orders for Boots and Walgreens soaring during the pandemic; and with patients increasingly seeking to access medications, consult with pharmacists or find telehealth solutions that could be accessed from home, we expanded our fulfilment capabilities to meet this rising demand and to help people remain at home.
Boots UK has partnered with the National Health Service (NHS) to provide commissioned services such as Medicine Use Reviews, New Medicines Service, Drug User Services and Stop Smoking.
The Walgreens mobile app (with more than 65 million downloads) was fully redesigned. It offers digital solutions for patients; including pill reminders and 24/7 chat with a pharmacy professional, used by over 100,000 patients per month.
The Walgreens Find Care digital platform helps patients from the comfort of their own home, giving access to more than 40 trusted providers that together offer more than 60 services and treat more than 100 conditions.
We waived delivery fees for prescriptions in the U.S. and the UK and implemented safe shopping alternatives, such as picking up essential items at the pharmacy drive-thru window and curbside pickup in the U.S.
Mental health is just as important as physical health. Particularly at a time when COVID-19 has increased stress, uncertainty and emotional pressures. With the increased need for mental health resources, Walgreens has long been committed to supporting the mental well-being of families and individuals, continuing to meet the growing need for resources and access to care through its mental health platform, which features resources and free online screening tools.
Walgreens completed the first phase of Mental Health First Aid training for pharmacists in May 2020. The training was developed a year earlier with the American Pharmacists Association (APhA) and the National Council for Behavioral Health, and became available to any pharmacist in the industry during the summer of 2020.
Support initiatives are essential to make medications more affordable and accessible for patients within our U.S. business, Walgreens, and for our two Latin American retail pharmacy chains, Farmacias Benavides in Mexico and Farmacias Ahumada in Chile.
Walgreens collaborates with other businesses and organizations to make medications more affordable through copay assistance. Through a number of programs, Walgreens helped approximately 829,000 patients in the U.S. secure more than $430 million in copay assistance for prescriptions during fiscal 2020.
Walgreens lowered the prices of hundreds of medications offered through its Prescription Savings Club during the pandemic, saving members more than $164 million off the cash retail price on prescriptions and immunizations between April 30 and October 2020. In Chile, the Ahumada Contigo (Ahumada With You) access program has expanded to now include more than 695 products that patients can purchase at significantly lower prices. In Mexico, generics brand Almus was introduced in Farmacias Benavides in 2019, providing an international standard of quality at competitive prices.
In July 2020, Walgreens Boots Alliance announced an expanded partnership with VillageMD for a large-scale rollout of doctor’s offices, co-located at Walgreens stores, designed to provide convenient access to healthcare by meeting many essential needs under one roof. Walgreens and VillageMD plan to open 600 to 700 Village Medical at Walgreens physician-led primary care clinics in more than 30 U.S. markets by 2025, with the intent to build hundreds more thereafter.
Other U.S. business relationships to provide comprehensive healthcare services in select locations include; diagnostic lab testing services, senior-focused primary care centers, optical and dental services, and nurse practitioner-led retail healthcare clinics for patients with acute medical needs.
The seasonal flu can make chronic health problems worse and lead to hospitalization. Walgreens is committed to helping protect uninsured and underinsured people from exposure to the flu, which causes tens of thousands of deaths every year in the U.S.
Since 2010, Walgreens has provided more than 1.7 million free flu vaccinations to customers who present a voucher, with more than 132,000 redeemed during fiscal 2020. Walgreens has committed to extending this work by donating $5 million worth of free flu shot vouchers in the United States by 2024, donating close to $3 million by the end of fiscal 2020.
Our businesses around the world partner with government agencies and nonprofit organizations on awareness campaigns to educate and support patients.
WBA plays an essential role in improving health outcomes and empowering patients to take control of their health, both through our pharmacies and digital services. As a touchpoint for millions of patients, we aim to educate and raise awareness about health issues and conditions, reaching people with vital information that can improve individual health and community resiliency.
Our pharmacy businesses play a significant role in improving societal health and well-being by helping patients adhere to medication regimens. Poverty, a lack of insurance, limited transportation options, lack of convenience, the complexity of regimens, concerns about interactions with other drugs and food, unawareness of the risks of skipping medication or unconscious issues such as forgetfulness can all be factors in medication adherence.
Walgreens pharmacists work with physicians, health plans, pharmaceutical companies and patients to remove barriers to taking medications as prescribed. Accomplishments to date include:
- More than 26 million patients have been reached through the Walgreens Patient Care Portal to date
- As of August 2020, 12.2 million patients had chosen to convert their eligible prescriptions to 90-day refills, with Walgreens assistance, which make medications more convenient
- More than 4 million patients were enrolled for Walgreens Save a Trip Refills as of Aug. 31, 2020, saving three pharmacy trips a year on average by aligning multiple prescriptions to one date
Walgreens helps to address health disparities in underserved communities through its 12-year sponsorship of the First Ladies Health Initiative. More than 400,000 people have been screened or educated through the initiative. The group provides no-cost medical screenings, educational information and personal contacts to help detect or prevent illnesses that disproportionately impact African-American and Latino communities.
Walgreens annual, free HIV testing collaboration with Greater Than AIDS continued for a tenth year in June 2020. Due to COVID-19, in-store testing in support of National HIV Testing Day was replaced with a new, free HIV self-testing program. Walgreens partnered with Greater Than AIDS and with Orasure Technologies to make a timely donation of 10,000 OraQuick In-Home HIV Tests to community partners. With the new donation, more than 67,000 free HIV tests will have been provided.
Boots Thailand joined a study on access to HIV self-testing services that was launched in August 2020. The study aims to increase awareness of and testing for HIV and includes access to HIV testing and counseling being made available at 36 Boots pharmacies in Bangkok.
Boots UK partners with BBC Children in Need’s A Million & Me campaign, which aims to support young people, between 8 and 13 years old, with their emotional well-being.
Boots worked with mental health experts at Shout, a partner of the Million & Me campaign, in creating and sharing a simple program for parents or caregivers to follow. This program explained the language needed to connect with young people on the challenges of COVID-19, encouraging continued active physical and mental stimulation, creating games around new safe health protocols and teaching young people simple methods to help others with their mental health struggles.
Boots UK, Boots Opticians and Boots Ireland aim to provide a dementia-inclusive environment and offer learning tools for staff. These tools help staff understand how to make a store visit easier for those living with, or affected by, dementia.
The majority of staff in UK and Ireland stores have completed dementia learning and wear Dementia Friends badges (in the UK) and Dementia: Understand Together badges (in Ireland). These easily recognizable signs of understanding can help those living with dementia feel at ease and cared for within their community.
We are supporting the fight against opioid abuse through our influence as a leader in the retail pharmacy industry, our scale of operations and our wide reach across local communities.
Opioid abuse continues to devastate families and entire communities in the U.S. Data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) showed the opioid abuse death rate rose in 2019 because of increased use of illicit opioids such as fentanyl. Our stakeholders expect us to play a significant role in helping to address the U.S. opioid epidemic, given our influence as a leader in the retail pharmacy industry, our scale of operations and our expansive reach across local communities.
Walgreens is focused on collaborative solutions, working with government and business partners on drug take back and addiction mitigation initiatives. The WBA board of directors continues to oversee our management of risks related to the dispensing of prescription opioid medication and our expanding, multi-million dollar effort to help combat overdose-related deaths.
We have worked with representatives at all levels of government, numerous public agencies, research organizations and industry groups to drive and influence legislation related to prescription opioids. Among the solutions we support are mandatory e-prescriptions, especially for prescription opioids, which can enhance security and curb fraud, waste and abuse; a nationwide prescription drug monitoring program (PDMP); and seven-day supply limits for acute prescription opioid prescribing.
Lifesaving opioid overdose antidote naloxone without a prescription in all Walgreens pharmacies
550,000 opioid overdose antidote Naloxone kits dispensed
1400+ safe medication disposal kiosks in Walgreens locations
1,400 tons of unwanted medication safely disposed of since 2016
1,5M+ take-home safe medication disposal kits shipped to stores since
7,900+ U.S. stores have safes installed;
3-year, $19M project
- Opioid abuse is devastating families and entire communities, and the numbers continue to rise. This problem is especially prevalent in the United States, where WBA operates Walgreens and Duane Reade...
Through our partnerships, we tackle important health issues including malnutrition, disease prevention and cancer research, and initiatives to empower youth worldwide.
At WBA, we believe in teaming up to expand our impact on the health and well-being of communities. Our collaborations are long-term, enabling us to help improve the lives of hundreds of millions of people.
Our pharmacies are a trusted resource for cancer patients seeking support during their treatment or answers about the side effects of medications. We work with cancer organizations to train our pharmacists and beauty consultants to develop the expertise and compassion to connect confidently with patients, family members and caregivers. Through this specialized training, we have expanded our cancer care beyond the physical well-being of patients to also address the significant emotional impacts of cancer.
WBA focuses on three priorities aimed at creating innovative and meaningful support for cancer patients and loved ones: assisting people living with cancer, working with organizations that advance research and supporting prevention programs.
We continue to build and deepen our Collaboration for Cancer Prevention, Research and Support, formed in 2019 with four major cancer organizations, facilitating joint initiatives to develop and support innovative cancer research infrastructure and share best practices in patient-centered care. The organizations that have joined are: Macmillan Cancer Support, Susan G. Komen, The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society (LLS) and the European Organisation for Research and Treatment of Cancer (EORTC).
In fiscal 2020, Farmacias Benavides raised 1.2 million Mexican pesos ($63,000) for Fundación Alma through the seventh annual Rosa Fuerte Road Race, helping to fund 155 external prostheses and 15 reconstructive surgeries for survivors of breast cancer in Mexico. Fundación Alma supports uninsured or underinsured women through funding for reconstructive surgery, prosthetics, psychological assistance or other aid.
Walgreens collaborates with Komen and LLS to enable research in tough-to-treat cancers and increase access to care. Walgreens has been equipping pharmacists with education and expertise to support patients with blood cancer, such as multiple myeloma, lymphoma and leukemia. More than 75 Walgreens pharmacies have become LLS-certified blood cancer pharmacies with specially trained pharmacists to help patients manage side effects and adhere to medications.
In an award-winning partnership, Boots UK and Macmillan Cancer Support have worked together since 2009 to provide expertise, information and support to people living with cancer, such as advice on managing the side effects of treatment. Each year our more than 2,000 Boots Macmillan Information Pharmacists (BMIPs) and close to 1,100 Boots Macmillan Beauty Advisors (BMBAs) deliver tens of thousands of conversations and consultations with people living with cancer.
Feel More Like You is designed to help people with cancer manage the physical and emotional side effects of cancer and its treatments. A Feel More Like You consultation is available at no cost through approximately 3,000 Walgreens stores and additional resources include the Feel More Like You podcast. The program, launched in 2019, is the first of its kind from a U.S. pharmacy, health and beauty retailer to integrate personalized oncology clinical care from pharmacists with beauty support services from specially trained beauty consultants.
Boots Ireland has more than 170 Boots Irish Cancer Society Information Pharmacists and more than 70 Boots Irish Cancer Society Beauty Advisors who deliver best-in-class support for people living with cancer. For the third year, Boots Ireland served as the main fundraising partner for Daffodil Day, the society’s largest national fundraising event. In light of the COVID-19 pandemic, Boots Ireland supported the move to online fundraising and turned its annual Night Walk activity into an online campaign, raising more than €70,000 ($77,000).
The annual Alliance Healthcare Games, a fundraising and engagement initiative that benefits cancer charities, expanded in fiscal 2020 to become a multi-market initiative by 11 businesses in seven countries across WBA’s Pharmaceutical Wholesale Division. The event raises money for the European Organisation for Research and Treatment of Cancer (EORTC) and for local cancer charities. WBA has worked in partnership with EORTC since 2011 to build the first pan-European infrastructure to screen cancer patients across tumor types, SPECTA. In the current phase of the partnership, WBA has committed to raising €5 million by the end of fiscal 2023, to help support better quality of life and increase survival for people living with cancer.
From providing lifesaving immunizations for infants to celebrating children who are making a difference in their communities, WBA works with charitable partners to enable and empower young people across the world. We have long-term commitments to several programs that directly impact youth. We also work with partners to create new programs and raise funds for organizations with demonstrated track records of impact.
The aim of our charitable partnerships is to lead by example and be a catalyst for others to do good. To maximize our impact on society, we have created and supported initiatives that customers and employees can join. These initiatives generate enthusiasm, build customer loyalty and increase employee satisfaction and engagement.
Red Nose Day
COVID-19 completely reshaped the Walgreens 2020 Red Nose Day campaign to combat child poverty. Due to safety considerations, the company quickly adapted by offering digital red noses through social media platforms instead of physical ones for sale in stores.
More than 370,000 digital red noses were downloaded and used, and the campaign overall created more than 1 billion online impressions.
Through customer, employee and supplier contributions, Walgreens raised more than $15 million for Red Nose Day through the campaign, bringing the total over six years to more than $118 million.
Boots UK and Boots Opticians employees and customers raised £1.1 million ($1.4 million) in fiscal 2020 to support BBC Children in Need. Boots UK also continued to support A Million & Me, a BBC Children in Need funded program that aims to support children from 8 to 13 years old with their emotional well-being. During Mental Health Awareness Week, Boots UK offered virtual support to parents and caregivers by providing tools to help them take positive action to support their children’s mental well-being at a time when many young people are facing increased pressures due to COVID-19.
Raising awareness of parents and caregivers to support their children’s mental well-being.
Walgreens and Vitamin Angels recently marked seven years of working together to help more than 250 million women and children in all 50 U.S. states and more than 70 countries with life-changing vitamins and minerals. WBA has extended the commitment for three more years, for a new target of an additional 150 million women and children impacted, for a combined total of 400 million. More WBA businesses are joining the partnership to amplify our impact, starting with Alliance Healthcare UK and Boots Netherlands.
Get a Shot. Give a Shot.
Over seven years, Walgreens has helped provide more than 60 million lifesaving polio and measles vaccines to children in developing countries by donating to the UN Foundation for every immunization administered at Walgreens and Duane Reade pharmacies and clinics.
Boots Thailand has supported the Baan Gerda charity for 10 years, donating an accumulated 18.8 million Thai baht ($600,000) to the organization, which supports children and orphans infected with HIV.
Walgreens Boots Alliance is focused on donating to organizations that work on social welfare and education issues – two of our main CSR priorities.
By investing in our communities, we aim to build trust and support our brands. Many of our employees generously volunteer their time for our charity efforts and other causes, showing commitment and dedication that is truly humbling. Learn more about our contributions in 2020 and how our businesses and people are giving back to the communities where we are proud to operate.
Our corporate giving approach is focused on donating to organizations with health programs that align to our core business and CSR values and priorities. We also give to organizations that work on social welfare and education issues.
As shown in the charts in this section, in fiscal 2020 the company’s direct contributions totaled $28.9 million. Our accumulated giving for the five-year period from fiscal 2016, the first year that WBA collected company-wide data, totals $167.5 million.