May 26, 2023
Walgreens Plans to Cut 10% of Corporate Workers in Patient Care Shift
(Bloomberg) -- Walgreens Boots Alliance Inc. said it will cut 504 employees from its corporate workforce as the drugstore chain moves more deeply into patient care.
The cuts account for 10% of the corporate workforce, and none of the them will be based at stores, microfulfillment centers or call centers, according to Fraser Engerman, a spokesman for the Deerfield, Illinois-based company.
“As we continue to transform our business into a consumer-centric healthcare company, we are focused on aligning our structure and streamlining our operations to best serve our patients and customers,” Engerman said Friday in an email.
As traditional retail pharmacy has grown more competitive, giant drug-store and retail chains have been investing in expanding their health-care offerings. At the same time, Walgreens has been confronted by a variety of financial liabilities. In March the company reported a $5.4 billion after-tax charge for opioid-related claims and litigation. It’s also fighting a $642 million arbitration award to Humana Inc. in a drug-pricing dispute.
Walgreens didn’t specify how the cuts relate to the transition toward a consumer-centric strategy, saying that they will streamline the business. They aren’t related to “financials,” Engerman said.
“We are focused on ensuring we have the optimal organizational structure to achieve our path to future growth,” Engerman said.
Chief Executive Officer Roz Brewer has been adding primary-care centers to US locations and partnering with health insurers to expand Walgreens’s offerings. The company last year acquired specialty and urgent care provider Summit Health-City MD in a move aimed driving profit in the US health-care segment. VillageMD, controlled by Walgreens, made the $8.9 billion purchase in November.
Rival CVS Health Corp. has also been shifting into health-care services, with major deals for health-care provider Signify Health and primary-care company Oak Street Health.
Walgreens shares fell as much as 1.4% in trading at the New York market open. They had dropped 20% since the year began through Thursday’s close.
The Chicago Sun-Times reported the layoffs earlier.
(Updates with financial details from fourth paragraph.)
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