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Walmart's push into healthcare, SoftBank's struggles, and why FedEx dumped Amazon

walmart pharmacy

Hello!

Walmart, America’s biggest retailer, this week opened a health clinic that has primary care, dentistry, and counseling services. As we reported this week, that’s just the start.

Zach Tracer and Lydia Ramsey talked to Sean Slovenski, Walmart’s president of health and wellness, to get the skinny on the company’s plans to wade deeper into the massive $3.5 trillion US healthcare system.

As they report, the retailer opened a health clinic in Dallas, Georgia, on Friday. It plans to open another in Calhoun, Georgia. If everything goes well, Walmart could soon be the largest provider of basic healthcare in the region.

The goal, according to Slovenski, is to do for healthcare what Walmart’s supercenter stores did for retail. As Zach and Lydia report:

Slovenski said Walmart planned to offer the doctor visits, dental cleanings, and lab tests at prices that are about 30 to 50% below what people have been paying, in part by cutting out middlemen when possible and using Walmart’s massive size to negotiate. The clinics will also take insurance, he said.

It’s just the latest example of the boundaries in healthcare blurring:

  • CVS, which last year acquired health insurer Aetna, wants to change where millions of Americans go when they get sick, for example. Lydia spoke to CVS chief marketing officer Norman de Greve about how it plans to do it.
  • Ancestry, the family-history website, is preparing for a big move into healthcare, an area the 36-year-old firm has largely avoided. Lydia reported that the private-equity-owned company has been recruiting a health team as it prepares for a move that could put it in competition with 23andMe
  • Amazon-owned online pharmacy PillPack is waging a battle with health-data company Surescripts over access to the prescription history data that Surescripts collects. The spat highlights a big fight over your private health information. The question is: who should have access to a patient’s prescription history?
  • Kroger, America’s largest grocery chain, is betting that it can get paid to keep you healthy with food rather than pills. We talked to Allison Baker, the director of nutrition at Kroger, where she oversees a team of dieticians and looks at how the biggest US grocery chain can change people’s eating habits to help them get healthier.

As a reminder, you can sign up to get more stories like this via BI’s weekly healthcare newsletter Dispensed right here. 

What have I missed? Get in touch.

— Matt

wework adam neumann 2x1

What’s going on at WeWork?

The coworking company could now go public with a valuation of as little as $10 billion, down from a private market valuation of $47 billion. Here’s our latest:

  • Now WeWork wants to be a manufacturer. The coworking company is opening a 200,000-square-foot New Jersey plant to make its signature aluminum and glass walls.
  • WeWork is preparing to move into this massive, flashy Brooklyn building as its IPO plans crumble. We took a look inside.
  • WeWork is doing increasing amounts of business with SoftBank, which is also its biggest investor
  • The history of WeWork’s meteoric valuation rise — and fall

The WeWork debacle is a black eye for SoftBank. As Troy Wolverton reports, venture investors still aren’t sure what to make of the $100 billion Vision Fund. Depending on who you ask, they’re either rooting for it, or gleeful that it’s struggling with WeWork and Uber.

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