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Retailers are making multibillion-dollar healthcare investments and acquisitions

Big retailers are accumulating assets from across the healthcare ecosystem. This includes adding pharmacy and health insurance capabilities, as well as provider services such as home health, telehealth, primary, specialty, and urgent care.

  • Retailers want to establish a presence in the $4.3 trillion US healthcare market. The US spends more per capita on healthcare than any other developed nation, according to The Commonwealth Fund, yet patients still struggle to access convenient and affordable care. Retailers are seizing the opportunity to challenge incumbent providers on their ability to deliver tech-focused accessible care with transparent pricing—while also profiting from the potentially lucrative value-based care (VBC) market.
  • CVS Health, Walgreens, and Amazon have been on healthcare buying sprees over the past year. CVS spent nearly $19 billion to acquire senior-focused primary care player Oak Street Health and home health tech company Signify Health; Amazon dropped $3.9 billion on primary care startup One Medical; and Walgreens-backed VillageMD teamed up with Cigna to buy multispecialty physician group Summit Health, the parent entity of urgent care provider CityMD, for $8.9 billion.
  • Retailers keep adding pieces to their healthcare portfolios. For example, CVS already owns health insurer Aetna and a pharmacy benefit manager, Caremark. Walgreens’ VillageMD augmented its Summit Health buy with an acquisition of multispecialty group Starling Physicians in March 2023. And last year, Walmart—which bought telehealth company MeMD in 2021—entered into a 10-year partnership with UnitedHealth Group.