Walgreen Company
Industry Retail
Founded 1901 (1901)
Chicago, Illinois, U.S.
Founder Charles Rudolph Walgreen
Headquarters 200 Wilmot Road, Deerfield, Illinois, United States
Number of locations
Area served
United States
Key people

James A. Skinner (Executive Chairman)

  • Alex Gourlay, President
Parent Walgreens Boots Alliance
Website walgreens.com

The Walgreen Company (Walgreens, or sometimes archaically Walgreen) is an American company which operates [2] the second-largest chain in the United States of America behind CVS Health. It specializes in filling prescriptions, health and wellness products, health information and photo services.[3] As of February 29, 2016, the company operated 8,177 stores in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands. It was founded in Chicago, Illinois, in 1901. The Walgreens headquarters office is in the Chicago suburb of Deerfield, Illinois.

In 2014, the company agreed to purchase the remaining 55% of Switzerland-based Alliance Boots that it did not already own to form a global business. Under the terms of the purchase, the two companies merged to form a new holding company, Walgreens Boots Alliance Inc., on December 31, 2014. Walgreens became a subsidiary of the new company, which retains its Deerfield headquarters and trades on the Nasdaq under the symbol WBA.[4]


Company history

Early "Walgreen Drugs" sign still in use in San Antonio, Texas

Walgreens began in 1901, with a drug store on the corner of Bowen Ave and Cottage Grove in Chicago, owned by Galesburg native Charles R. Walgreen, Sr.[5] By 1913, Walgreens had grown to four stores on Chicago's South Side. It opened its fifth in 1915, and four more in 1916. By 1919, there were 20 stores in the chain. As a result of alcohol prohibition, the 1920s was a successful time for Walgreens. Although alcohol was illegal, prescription whiskey was available and sold by Walgreens.[6]

In 1922, the company introduced a malted milkshake, which led to its establishing ice cream manufacturing plants. The next year, Walgreen began opening stores away from residential areas. In the mid-1920s, there were 44 stores with annual sales of $1,200,000. Walgreens had expanded into Minnesota, Missouri, and Wisconsin.

By 1930, it had 397 stores with annual sales of US$4,000,000. This expansion partly was attributed to selling alcohol, mainly whiskey, which Walgreen often stocked under the counter, as accounted in Daniel Okrent's Last Call: The Rise and Fall of Prohibition.[7] The stock market crash in October 1929 and the subsequent Great Depression did not greatly affect the company. In 1934, Walgreens was operating in 30 states with 601 stores.

After Charles Walgreen, Sr., died in 1939, his son Charles R. Walgreen took over the chain until his retirement. The Charles R. Walgreen years were relatively prosperous, but lacked the massive expansion seen in the early part of the century. Charles "Cork" R. Walgreen III took over after Walgreen Jr.'s retirement in the early 1950s, and modernized the company by switching to barcode scanning. The Walgreen family was not involved in senior management of the company for a short time following Walgreen III's retirement. In 1986, it acquired the MediMart chain from Stop & Shop.[8] In 1995, Kevin P. Walgreen was made a vice-president and promoted to Senior Vice President - Store Operations in 2006.[9]

Walgreens logo until 2006.

On July 12, 2006, David Bernauer stepped down as CEO of Walgreens, replaced by company president Jeff Rein. Holding degrees in accounting and pharmacy from the University of Arizona, Rein was a pharmacist, store manager, district manager, and treasurer prior to being named Chief Executive Officer and Chairman of the Board. Greg Wasson, former President of Walgreens Health Services, was named President and Chief Operations Officer.

On October 10, 2008, Rein abruptly quit as CEO, replaced by Alan G. McNally as Chairman and Acting CEO.[10]

On January 26, 2009, Gregory Wasson was named CEO, effective February 1, 2009.[11]

21st century expansion

A neon-lit store on Canal Street in New Orleans

Contributions to popular culture

Walgreens claims credit for the popularization of the malted milkshake (or at least its version of the malted milkshake), invented by Ivar "Pop" Coulson in 1922,[29] although milkshakes and malted milk had been around for some time before. This development coincided with the invention of the electric blender in the same year.

In November 2010, Walgreens filed a trademark infringement lawsuit against the Wegmans supermarket chain, claiming the "W" in the Wegman's logo is too similar to Walgreens'.[30] The lawsuit was settled in April 2011, with Wegmans agreeing to discontinue use of its "W" logo by June 2012, although the supermarket retains the right to use the “Wegmans” name in script.[31] According to Jo Natale, Wegmans director of media relations, “The cost of making relatively minor changes to a limited number of products was much less than the cost of litigating this case to the end.”[32]

The logo for the Washington Nationals baseball team is similar to the Walgreens "W";[33] to date, Walgreens never challenged the Nationals' use of their "W" in a lawsuit.

Corporate operations

Walgreens has its corporate headquarters in Deerfield, Illinois.[34][35] As of 2009 Walgreens employed 5,200 people at its headquarters.[36]

In 1987 Walgreens employed about 1,100 people at its headquarters, which was at the time in an unincorporated area on the west side of Deerfield.[37][38] As of 2000, headquarters was still in an unincorporated area in West Deerfield Township.[39]

In the summer of 2014 a corporate relocation to Switzerland was considered as part of a merger with Alliance Boots, a European drugstore chain.[40] This drew controversy as many consumers felt that it was an attempt at tax inversion. On August 5, 2014 Walgreens announced that they would not be relocating their headquarters.

Store model

A Walgreens on Rt.1 South, Saugus, Massachusetts.

Walgreens stores were originally connected to local groceries. In Chicago, their flagship market, they teamed up with either Eagle Food Centers or Dominick's Finer Foods, usually with a "walkthru" to the adjoining store and often sharing personnel. This concept was instated to compete with the popular dual store format used by chief competitor Jewel-Osco/Albertsons-Sav-On. They eventually ended the relationship with Eagle and focused primarily on a connection to the Dominick's stores. PharmX-Rexall filled the vacated Walgreen locations joined to Eagle stores.

A Walgreens "corner drugstore", located in a Marriott street-level retail space, on the corner of a heavily trafficked intersection in Washington, D.C

In its 2009 business model, Walgreens are freestanding corner stores, with the entrance on the street with the most traffic flow, figuratively making it a "corner drugstore" similar to how many independent pharmacies evolved. Some stores have a drive-through pharmacy.[41]

The store management team usually includes a Store Manager (MGR), an Executive Assistant Manager (EXA), and at least one Assistant Manager (MGT). In 2009, Walgreens introduced the Store Team Lead (STL), or "non-management keyholder", position in many of its stores. In 2012, Walgreens announced that they would be phasing out the MGT, EXA, and STL positions for the Assistant Store Manager Trainee (ASM-T), Assistant Store Manager (ASM), and Shift Leader (SFL) positions, respectively. The new management structure will implement a new structure and payscale that will more closely resemble their competitors to reflect the industry standard.

Disability inclusion initiative

In 2002, Walgreens senior vice president of supply chain and logistics Randy Lewis began a program aimed at providing opportunity to the disabled to work side by side with typical workers. The result was the development and opening of two distribution centers whose staff is approximately 40% disabled. The model was so successful that other companies such as Clarks Companies NA, Glaxo Smith Kline, Best Buy, and Costco have either examined it or placed it under consideration.[42]

Related ventures

Wag's menu logo circa 1985

Walgreens used to own Sanborns, one of the largest pharmacy and department store chains in Mexico. Walgreens purchased Sanborns from Frank Sanborn in 1946 and sold it to Grupo Carso in 1982.[43]

In the 1980s, Walgreens owned and operated a chain of casual family restaurants/pancake houses called Wag's, an attempt to compete with Woolworth's lunch counters. The Wag's restaurants were very similar in concept to Denny's, IHOP and Golden Bear. At the highpoint, it had over 100 locations. Walgreens sold most of these to Marriott Corp. in 1988[44] and by 1991 the chain was out of business.

Consumer record

December 2012, A judge ordered Walgreens to pay $16.57 million to settle a lawsuit. The claim was that over 600 stores were illegally dumping hazardous waste and unlawfully disposing of customer records containing confidential medical information. [45]


A Walgreens in Little Egg Harbor, New Jersey, which opened in 2006.

As of June 2008, Walgreens "agreed to stop altering prescriptions without physician approval as part of a multi-state agreement to settle allegations of improper billing," reported the Knoxville News Sentinel:[46][47]

Walgreens was accused of switching the dosage forms on three medications commonly prescribed for Medicaid patients without doctor approvals in order to boost profits. This resulted in Medicaid programs nationwide paying much more for the medications than they normally would have, according to a press release by the [Tennessee] attorney general's office. Walgreen Co. agreed to comply with state and federal laws on the matter, plus pay $35 million to the federal government, 42 states and the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico.

"The compliance agreement will be in effect for five years. Walgreens did not admit liability, as part of the settlement," reported the Chicago Sun-Times.[48]

The Walgreens web site invited users to write reviews of some OTC products such as vitamins and nutritionals, but did not invite users to write reviews of the corresponding Walgreens-branded products. A recent revision of the Walgreens web site has added the ability to review any product it sells.

Allegations of discrimination

In March 2008, Walgreens settled a lawsuit with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) that alleged the company discriminated against African-Americans for $24 million.[49] The settlement was split between the 10,000 African-American employees of the company.[49] In the agreement, Walgreens avoided any admission of guilt.

The decree, one of the largest monetary settlements in a race case by the EEOC, provides for the payment of over $24 million to a class of thousands of African American workers and orders comprehensive injunctive relief designed to improve the company's promotion and store assignment practices.

In September 2011, Walgreens settled a lawsuit with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission which claimed that a store improperly terminated a worker with diabetes for eating a package of the store's food while working to stop a hypoglycemia attack.[50]


Also in 2008, Walgreens "agreed to pay $35 million to the U.S., 42 states and Puerto Rico for overcharging state Medicaid programs by filling prescriptions with more expensive dosage forms of ranitidine, a generic form of Zantac and fluoxetine, which is a generic form of Prozac."[51]

In 2009, Walgreens threatened to leave the Medicaid program, the state and federal partnership to provide health insurance coverage to the poor, in Delaware, over reimbursement rates. Walgreens was the largest pharmacy chain in the state and the only chain to make such a threat.[52] The state of Delaware and Walgreens reached an agreement on payment rates and the crisis was averted.[53]

In 2010, Walgreens stopped accepting Medicaid in Washington state, leaving its one million Medicaid recipients unable to get their prescriptions filled at these 121 stores.[54]

On April 20, 2012. The U.S. [Department of Justice] announced, that Walgreens agreed to pay $7.9 million in settlement. The fine relates to allegations of violations of the federal Anti-Kickback Statute and the False Claims Act regarding beneficiaries of federal health care programs.[55]

Express Scripts

In 2011, Walgreens announced it would end its relationship with Express Scripts,[56] a prescription benefits manager. A coalition of minority groups, led by Al Sharpton's National Action Network,[57] sent letters urging CEO Gregory Wasson to reconsider. Groups sending letters were National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference,[58] the Congress of Racial Equality,[59] Hispanic Leadership Fund[60] and others. On July 19, 2012, Walgreens and Express Scripts announced a multi-year pharmacy network agreement that includes rates and terms under which Walgreens would participate in the broadest Express Scripts retail pharmacy network available to new and existing clients as of September 15, 2012.

Use of proprietary drugs

Walgreens was named in a lawsuit by the Union Food and Commercial Workers Unions and Employers Midwest Health Benefits Fund in the Northern District Court of Illinois in January 2012. The suit alleges Walgreens and Par Pharmaceuticals violated the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act[61] "at least two widespread schemes to overcharge" for generic drugs.[51]

The lawsuit alleges drugstore chain Walgreen and generic pharmaceutical maker Par established a partnership in which Par manufactured and/or marketed generic versions of antacid Zantac and antidepressant Prozac in dosage forms that weren't subject to private and governmental reimbursement limitations.

It further said Walgreen purchased those dosage forms from par at a cost substantially higher than the widely prescribed dosage forms, and then "systematically and unlawfully filled its customers' prescriptions with Par's more expensive products, rather than the inexpensive dosage forms that were prescribed by physicians."

Distribution of oxycodone

In September 2012, the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) accused Walgreens of endangering public safety and barred the company from shipping oxycodone and other controlled drugs from its Jupiter, Florida distribution center. The DEA said that Walgreens failed to maintain proper controls to ensure it didn't dispense drugs to addicts and drug dealers. The DEA also said that six of Walgreens' Florida pharmacies ordered in excess of a million oxycodone pills a year. In contrast, in 2011, the average pharmacy in the U.S. ordered 73,000 oxycodone tablets a year according to the DEA. One Walgreens pharmacy located in Fort Myers, Florida, ordered 95,800 pills in 2009, but by 2011 this number had jumped to 2.2 million pills in one year. Another example was a Walgreens pharmacy located in Hudson, FL a town of 34,000 people near Clearwater, that purchased 2.2 million pills in 2011, the DEA said. Immediate suspension orders are an action taken when the DEA believes a registrant, such as a pharmacy or a doctor, is "an imminent danger to the public safety." All DEA licensees "have an obligation to ensure that medications are getting into the hands of legitimate patients," said Mark Trouville, former DEA special agent in charge of the Miami Field Division. "When they choose to look the other way, patients suffer and drug dealers prosper."

The Jupiter, Florida distribution center which opened in 2001 is one of 12 such distribution centers owned by Walgreens. Since 2009, Walgreens' Jupiter facility has been the single largest distributor of oxycodone in the state of Florida, the DEA said. Over the past three years, its market share has increased, and 52 Walgreens are among the top 100 oxycodone purchasers in the state, the DEA said.[62]

In 2013, United States Attorney Wifredo Ferrer said Walgreens committed "an unprecedented number" of record-keeping and dispensing violations." Walgreens was fined $80 million. At the time, the largest fine in the history of the Controlled Substances Act[63]

Sale of tobacco

In common with other US pharmacies (a major exception is CVS Pharmacy), Walgreens stocks tobacco products for sale to the public. Some campaigners in the USA advocate the removal of tobacco from pharmacies due to the health risks associated with smoking and the apparent contradiction of selling cigarettes alongside smoking cessation products and asthma medication.[64] Walgreens and other pharmacies who continue to sell tobacco products have been subject to criticism, and attempts have been made to introduce regional bans on the practice, which has taken place in the City and County of San Francisco.[65][66]

Walgreens defends its tobacco sales policy by reasoning that through selling tobacco in its outlets, it is more readily able to offer to customers advice and products for quitting smoking.

See also


  1. "Store Count by State | Walgreens Newsroom". news.walgreens.com. Retrieved 2016-02-29.
  2. http://www.forbes.com/sites/greatspeculations/2015/06/30/cvs-to-buy-all-of-targets-pharmacy-stores-a-win-win-for-both/#1b65050769d1
  3. http://www.walgreens.com
  4. Linnane, Ciara (December 31, 2014). That is currently under reorganization "Walgreen ticker changes to WBA after merger with Boots Alliance" Check |url= value (help). Market Watch. Retrieved December 31, 2014.
  5. "Our History". Walgreens. Retrieved 2008-03-06.
  6. "When Cannabis Meets Capitalism". New York Times.
  7. Daniel Okrent, Last Call: The Rise and Fall of Prohibition (197)
  8. "Walgreens buys Medi Mart". Chain Drug Review. 2003.
  9. "Kevin P. Walgreen". Walgreens. Retrieved 2008-03-06.
  10. Wohl, Jessica (2009-01-26). "Walgreen picks insider Wasson to be next CEO". Reuters. Retrieved 2009-01-26.
  11. Walgreen to acquire Happy Harry's chain - Baltimore Sun. Articles.baltimoresun.com (2006-06-06). Retrieved on 2013-09-05.
  12. Congressional Record - 110th Congress (2007-2008) - THOMAS (Library of Congress). Thomas.loc.gov. Retrieved on 2013-09-05.
  13. Walgreens to acquire 20 drugstores from Farmacia El Amal | Drug Topics. Drugtopics.modernmedicine.com (2008-01-21). Retrieved on 2013-09-05.
  14. Vogel, Mike (Aug 3, 2009). "Walgreens becomes a truly national chain". Chain Drug Review. Retrieved June 27, 2013.
  15. "Walgreens to Acquire New York-based Drugstore Chain Duane Reade", 17 February 2010, retrieved June 27, 2013
  16. "Boom! Walgreens Buys Online Retailer Drugstore.com For $409 Million". TechCrunch. March 24, 2011.
  17. Kevin Woodward. "Merchandising and Design - Beauty.com: A refined look - Internet Retailer". Retrieved 15 June 2015.
  18. Walgreens. "Walgreens Launches Nice!™ Store Brand Chainwide, Continues Building Value and Loyalty with its Private Brands". Retrieved 17 July 2014.
  19. "US retailer Walgreen buys 45% stake in Alliance Boots". BBC News. June 19, 2012.
  20. "Walgreens to acquire mid-South drug store chain". Drug Store News. July 5, 2012. Retrieved July 5, 2012.
  21. "Walgreens furthers reach into North Carolina with acquisition of Kerr Drug". Drug Store News. September 10, 2013. Retrieved September 11, 2013.
  22. "Walgreens buys up rest of Alliance Boots: The Guardian". August 6, 2014.
  23. "Post Alliance Boots buyout Walgreens to stay on in US". Chicago News.Net. Retrieved 7 August 2014.
  24. "Walgreens, Rite Aid Unite to Create Drugstore Giant". The Wall Street Journal. Retrieved 28 October 2015.
  25. "Walgreens may sell 1,000 stores for Rite Aid deal". USA Today. Retrieved 3 November 2015.
  26. "Walgreens Likely To Go on Real Estate Diet if Deal for Rite Aid Wins Approval - CoStar Group". www.costar.com. Retrieved 2015-11-12.
  27. Northwest Innovation, " Drugstore.com, Beauty.com To Be Shut Down By Walgreens." July 28, 2016.
  28. "Our Past". Walgreens. Retrieved 2008-03-06.
  29. "Walgreens sues Wegmans in logo dispute". The Wall Street Journal. November 6, 2010. Archived from the original on November 8, 2010. Retrieved November 17, 2010.
  30. Richard Patterson (April 27, 2011). "Wegmans Settles with Walgreens over War of W's". Intellectual Property Brief. American University. Retrieved June 9, 2011.
  31. "Press Release: Wegmans Releases Statement on Lawsuit Resolution". Retrieved June 9, 2011.
  32. "The Law of the Letter: Could Nats' Curly W Be Taken Away?". Washington City Paper. Retrieved 15 June 2015.
  33. "Contact Us." Walgreens. Retrieved on January 30, 2011. "Write Walgreen Co. 200 Wilmot Road Deerfield, IL 60015."
  34. "GIS Maps." City of Deerfield. Retrieved on February 5, 2011.
  35. "Strong medicine at Walgreens: 1,000 cuts." Chicago Tribune. January 9, 2009. News 34. Retrieved on February 2, 2011. "About 500 of those cuts will occur at the 5200-person headquarters."
  36. Little, Anne. "Taking a corridor to success Deerfield's economy booming with office buildings." Chicago Tribune. July 8, 1987. Deerfield/Northbrook 5. Retrieved on February 5, 2011. "[...]and the corporate headquarters of Walgreen Co., which is in an unincorporated area on the western side of Deerfield, with about 1,100."
  37. Who Owns Whom: North America. Dun & Bradstreet, Ltd., Directories Division, 1987. "420. Retrieved on February 5, 2011. "WALGREEN CO., 200 Wilmot Rd.. Deerfield. II. 60015"
  38. "Deerfield village, Illinois." U.S. Census Bureau. Retrieved on February 5, 2011.
  39. "At Walgreen, Renouncing Corporate Citizenship", Andrew Ross Sorkin, 6/30/2014 8:12 PM
  40. "Printer Cartridge Refills". Walgreens. Archived from the original on March 2, 2008. Retrieved 2008-03-06.
  41. "Disability Inclusion". 2011-03-09.
  42. "Sanborn Hermanos" (in Spanish). Sanborns. Retrieved 2008-03-06.
  43. "Marriott to Buy 91 Wag's Restaurants". The New York Times. Reuters. 1988-06-30. Retrieved 2008-03-06.
  44. "Walgreens agrees to stop altering perscriptions [sic]". Knoxville News Sentinel. 2008-06-05.
  45. "The Walgreens Case". Behn & Wyetzner.
  46. "Walgreens to pay $35 million to settle drug-fraud suit". Chicago Sun-Times. 2008-06-04. Archived from the original on June 7, 2008. Retrieved June 27, 2013.
  47. 1 2 Final Decree entered with Walgreens for $24 million in landmark race discrimination suit by EEOC. Eeoc.gov. Retrieved on 2013-09-05.
  48. "Walgreens Sued By EEOC For Disability Discrimination". The National Law Review. September 12, 2011. Retrieved December 13, 2013.
  49. 1 2 Kell, John (2012-01-13). "Lawsuit Says Walgreen, Par Pharma Overcharged". The Wall Street Journal.
  50. "UPDATE 1-Walgreen exiting Delaware Medicaid program". Reuters. 2009-06-04.
  51. "Reports: Walgreens reaches Medicaid Rx deal in Delaware". August 11, 2009. Retrieved June 27, 2013.
  52. Tu, Janet I. (2010-03-17). "Walgreens: no new Medicaid patients as of April 16". The Seattle Times. Archived from the original on 2012-01-11.
  53. http://www.lexology.com/library/detail.aspx?g=9f51abb9-4ded-46e2-9622-88b28abc9000
  54. "Walgreens ramps up for end of Express Scripts deal". Chicago Tribune. Archived from the original on Dec 30, 2011.
  55. "Document Drop: Al Sharpton V. Walgreens". Daily News. New York.
  56. "Largest Latino Religious Group Joins Chorus Critical of Walgreens Plans to Abandon Lower-income & Minority Communities Would Consider Urging Boycott if Course not Changed".
  57. Congress of Racial Equality (CORE) Warns Walgreens Decision to Drop Express Scripts... - NEW YORK, Dec. 15, 2011 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/. Prnewswire.com (2011-12-15). Retrieved on 2013-09-05.
  58. Walgreen, Par sued for alleged RICO violations, drug overcharges. IFAwebnews.com (2012-01-24). Retrieved on 2013-09-05.
  59. Walgreens and Oxycodone – USATODAY.com. Usatoday30.usatoday.com. Retrieved on 2013-09-05.
  60. "Tobacco-Free Pharmacies". Americans for Nonsmokers' Rights. Archived from the original on 22 May 2010. Retrieved 18 July 2013.
  61. Rubenstein, Sarah (July 29, 2008). "Cigarette Sales in Drugstores Come Under Fire". The Wall Street Journal. Retrieved April 16, 2011.
  62. Hussar, PhD, Daniel A. (March 1, 2009). "Pharmacy cigarette sales must end". Modern Medicine. Retrieved April 16, 2011.


External links

Wikimedia Commons has media related to Walgreens.

This article is issued from Wikipedia - version of the 11/23/2016. The text is available under the Creative Commons Attribution/Share Alike but additional terms may apply for the media files.