Walmart Weighs Investment in ChenMed Senior Care Clinics

walmart pharmacy healthcare

Walmart is reportedly considering purchasing a majority share of primary care chain ChenMed.

The proposed deal, reported Friday (Sept. 8) by Bloomberg News, would mark Walmart’s largest healthcare foray so far, happening at a time when a number of retailers are expanding their presence in the health space.

According to the report — citing sources familiar with the matter — the two companies are discussing a deal that would place ChenMed’s value at several billion dollars. The deal, if it happens, could still be weeks off, the sources said.

PYMNTS has reached out to both companies for comment but has not yet received a reply.

The Bloomberg report noted a trend that PYMNTS has been following for the past several months: drug store chains and retailers moving further into the world of primary care. 

For example, CVS Health announced in February it was purchasing primary healthcare provider Oak Street Health for $10.6 billion. And Walmart rival Amazon purchased primary care firm One Medical last year for $3.5 billion.

As for Walmart, it purchased telehealth provider MeMD in 2021 and last year joined forces with UnitedHealth Group Inc. to provide care for Medicare patients at Walmart Health centers. 

More recently, Walmart announced Testing and Treatment, a program being piloted in 12 states that lets the retailer’s pharmacists test and treat customers for strep throat, flu and COVID-19 in one place.

“A flu test may lead to a prescription for Tamiflu, or a sore throat could be calmed by tea and chicken noodle soup. Either way, it’s only aisles away. Our pharmacies are ready to be more than your second or third stop on the path to getting better — they can be your only stop,” Kevin Host, senior vice president of Walmart Health & Wellness, Pharmacy, said in the statement.

As noted here in August, Walgrees has said it plans to offer a similar program in 13 states, while CVS pharmacists in 10 states already evaluate symptoms and prescribe flu antiviral medicine and cough suppressants.

“By offering accessible testing and treatment services, these retailers are aiming to attract not only patients who would typically visit a physician, but also those who would otherwise forgo care due to limited access,” PYMNTS wrote in August.

As that report noted, some retailers are stepping up efforts to make healthcare accessible to everyone, such as Amazon’s recent debut of automatic, manufacturer-sponsored coupons to help patients save on the steep costs of insulin and other diabetes-care products.

For its part, Walmart’s investment in ChenMed — assuming it goes through — will see the retailer taking a stake in a company that bills itself as serving “the neediest populations.