Retail Clinics Boosted by CVS-Aetna Merger

Press Release
Dec 5, 2017
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Rockville (MD), December 5, 2017 — The news of CVS's purchase of Aetna has made news for its potential influence on employee healthcare insurance and pharmacy benefit industries, but Kalorama Information says that’s only one possible effect of the significant deal announced this week. CVS’s Aetna could also could increase utilization of retail clinics, the healthcare market researcher said. Retail Clinics are in-store healthcare locations which offer basic services at convenient times, usually staffed by a nurse practitioner. CVS is the largest retail clinic provider, according to the firm's report, Retail Clinics: The Game-Changer in Healthcare.

In 2016, total U.S. retail clinic sales are estimated at more than $1.4 billion, an increase of 20.3% per year from $518 million in 2010. Strong historic growth has been driven by aggressive expansion, particularly by MinuteClinic, which is now owned by CVS.

"Now these retail clinics in effect become in-house healthcare providers for Aetna" said Bruce Carlson. "We can speculate that they'd look to encourage members to use them, and that will drive retail clinic business, indirect sales to stores from clinic visitors."

There are 2,225 retail clinics in the U.S., according to Kalorama. And the clinics are popular - (93% report satisfaction with their visit, according to a 2017 Kalorama survey).

CVS has become, over the past decade, a large healthcare organization with many parts. The firm runs nearly 10,000 drugstores, which is what it is known for. It also runs a specialty pharmacy for high-priced drugs, retail clinics, including clinics in Target stores. And the drugstore chain owns Caremark which is a pharmacy management business. And it has over 1100 clinics.

"Only a portion of CVS stores have a clinic, so there is room to grow," said Carlson. "Driving growth is waiting times at physician offices, increased healthcare coverage and the desire of payors to avoid ER visits for non-emergencies. These growth drivers are also drivers for other companies like Walgreens and The Little Clinic, they are drivers for urgent care centers and for telemedicine."

Carlson, who was interviewed in Fast Company this week about the CVS – Aetna merger, notes that the stronger impetus for the deal was taking pharmacy benefits in-house, and this deal will allow Aetna to benefit from CVS Caremark services. But with any deal there are many components, and retail clinics are a secondary benefit of the deal. CVS has indicated they want to make their stores a ‘front door’ of healthcare.

The deal is for $69 billion. This will be one of the largest healthcare deals. Media reports suggest it is unlikely that regulators will intervene, and the deal will go forward, as the firms largely do not overlap.

For information on Kalorama Information’s report on Retail Clinics, visit

About Kalorama Information

Kalorama Information, a division of, supplies the latest in independent medical market research in diagnostics, biotech, pharmaceuticals, medical devices and healthcare; as well as a full range of custom research services. Reports can be purchased through Kalorama’s website and are also available on and

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