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From the Wall Street Journal this morning:

"CVS Health Corp. says it needs doctors on its payroll to fulfill long-held ambitions of becoming a major provider of healthcare services.

"The nation’s largest drugstore chain has worked for years to build an integrated healthcare system centered on pharmacists, in-store clinics and a massive insurance business. But until recently, the company’s plans have stopped short of including physicians.

"On Wednesday, CVS Chief Executive Karen Lynch said the company is working with 'speed and urgency' to create physician-staffed primary-care practices, which she said will be a priority for CVS as it considers potential acquisitions in the coming year."

The story notes that "in moving to tie up with primary-care doctors, CVS will be following several of its rivals. UnitedHealth Group Inc.’s Optum arm has been buying physician groups, clinics and surgery centers for years, and has said it is adding another 10,000 employed or affiliated doctors and other healthcare providers this year. Humana Inc. also has been getting deeply into primary care, and said Tuesday it planned to expand its footprint further next year."

The Journal writes that "CVS acquired insurance giant Aetna in 2018, having laid out a plan in which the combined company would be a major healthcare player. It was a first: no major healthcare company had tried to build a vertical system that relied on a combination of drugstores, insurance and pharmacy-benefit management, the main businesses of CVS and Aetna."

KC's View:

I find myself wondering how this is going to impact food retailers that have made investments in the pharmacy business … companies like CVS are doing their best to create as much of a footprint as possible within the broader healthcare business, which could make it hard for food retailers to compete effectively with smaller offerings.