Walgreens is expanding the reach of its drugstore clinics beyond treating ankle sprains and sinus infections to handling chronic diseases such as diabetes and high blood pressure.
The Deerfield, Ill., company says most of its 370 in-store clinics now will diagnose, treat and monitor patients with chronic conditions that typically are handled by doctors.
Drugstore clinics are typically run by nurse practitioners or physician assistants. They have been growing rapidly in recent years, both in locations and services offered. CVS Caremark Corp., Walgreen Co.'s competitor, also handles chronic conditions at most of its 640 clinics.
The drugstores say they don't aim to replace doctors, but rather to improve care access and supplement a physician's care. But doctors say the broader role of these clinics can disrupt their relationship with patients.