NEW YORK ( Trefis) -- CVS Caremark (CVS), the U.S.'s second-largest drug retailer, has expanded its retail health-care clinic footprint to 650 in the last five years and plans to add another 350 by 2016.
Through MinuteClinics at its pharmacy locations, CVS Caremark has significantly outpaced its competitors
(WMT) in the race to provide basic health care through retail-based walk-in medical clinics. (View our
Staffed primarily by nurse practitioners and physician's assistants, retail health clinics treat common ailments and offer routine vaccinations. They are cheaper than a typical visit to the doctor's office or emergency room and do not require an appointment.
This helps increase accessibility to primary health care at lower cost. Demand for primary health care is expected to sharply increase when 32 million more Americans will obtain health insurance from 2014 through health-care reforms.In 2007, Wal-Mart announced plans to open thousands of health-care clinics across the U.S. but has fallen quite short of its targets and just operates 150 clinics today. In fact, it ended up shutting down 33 clinics this year and is rethinking its strategy to allow hospitals/doctors to operate from its stores. At the same time, Walgreen, which acquired Take Care Health Systems in 2007, expanded its retail clinic presence from 110 stores in 2007 to more than 350 today, but still lags behind CVS Caremark.