Walmart trademarks signal the launch of a clinical trial business

The news: Walmart filed trademark patents to launch a clinical trial business, according to Insider.

August 11 trademark documents for the Walmart Healthcare Research Institute and My Health Journey say the retail giant would compile data in medical science and provide project management in research and clinical trials. It will also offer “scientific and technological services" and “industrial analysis,” as well as design and development computer hardware and software.

Walmart’s healthcare evolution: Although Walmart has had a pharmacy for years, the move into clinical trials is part of Walmart’s deeper push into healthcare.

  • In May, Walmart rolled out a virtual diabetes program for employers and payers.
  • Walmart acquired telehealth provider MeMD in May 2021, which was rebranded Walmart Health Virtual Care, to unify its retail clinics and virtual care services.
  • Walmart also plans to expand the number of Walmart Health retail clinics, which benefit patients in rural areas.

Trendspotting: Walmart would join other retail giants in launching a clinical trial business.

  • In June, Walgreens launched a clinical trial business to increase diverse communities’ access and retention in sponsor-led drug development research.
  • CVS also announced a clinical trial business called Clinical Trial Services to deliver research solutions to drug developers and contract research organizations (CROs). The CVS platform incorporates analytics. CVS played a major role in bolstering COVID-19 clinical trials in the US.

Aiming for equity: Retail giants such as Walmart can use data analytics to expand the participant population to a more diverse sample. Walmart is well suited to make clinical trials more diverse because of the large footprint of retail stores across the country.

Only 3% of US physicians and patients participate in clinical trial research, per the FDA. And the majority of patients who participate in clinical trials are typically highly educated, affluent, and white, Sari Kaganoff, general manager of consulting at Rock Health Advisory, told Insider.

Walgreens has Pluto Health, which offers a multilayered smart care coordination service. The Pluto platform will unify siloed data among medical records, insurance claims, and social determinants of health data to make clinical trial systems more equitable.

Meanwhile, CVS is working with clinical trial platform Medable to expand clinical trial access and engagement for patients at select MinuteClinic locations through Medable’s clinical trial software.

The big takeaway: As Walmart rolls out its clinical trial platform, data analytics will be an important component to target a precise patient sample for clinical trial opportunities.

Digging deeper: Read more about how RPM in clinical trials in our US Remote Patient Monitoring Forecast 2021 report.

This article originally appeared in Insider Intelligence's Digital Health Briefing—a daily recap of top stories reshaping the healthcare industry. Subscribe to have more hard-hitting takeaways delivered to your inbox daily.

Want to learn more about how you can benefit from our expert analysis? Click here.