- Walmart has trademarked “Walmart Healthcare Research Institute” and “My Health Journey”.
- According to the filings, Walmart wants to conduct clinical trials, compile research and consult for others.
- The filings come as Walmart tries to meet its ambitious health goals.
Walmart appears to have new ambitions as part of its healthcare expansion.
The Bentonville, Arkansas-based retail giant filed two trademark applications on August 11 – “Walmart Healthcare Research Institute” and “My health journey— which indicate that Walmart hopes to conduct clinical trials to evaluate experimental treatments and therapies at some point in the future.
Both trademark filings contain identical language and include Walmart’s purposes:
- Provide information on medical and scientific research “in the field of pharmaceuticals and clinical trials”.
- Conduct clinical trials “for others”.
- Compile data and provide consulting services to others in research and clinical trials.
It’s unclear how Walmart may use these branded apps and when Walmart might begin conducting clinical trials. A Walmart spokesperson did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Walmart isn’t the first retailer to enter the clinical trial space. CVS Health announced in May 2021 that it was launching a clinical trial services business to recruit patients, provide decentralized options – including in CVS sites, at home or virtually – and generate retrospective and prospective studies based on the results.
And in June of this year, Walgreens also announced that it would launch a clinical trial company to reach a more diverse set of communities.
Sari Kaganoff, managing director of consulting at Rock Health Advisory, told Insider that the majority of patients who enter clinical trials are usually highly educated, affluent and white. She said retailers entering the space that have many locations across the United States — Walmart has more than 4,700 stores nationwide — will help reach more patients.
Making clinical trials “accessible to a wider range of the population will help get better data and allow people who need this treatment that may not yet be available in the mainstream to do so,” he said. said Kaganoff.
Clinical trials could be part of Walmart’s growing healthcare ambitions
These trademark filings come as Walmart continues to try to meet its aggressive health goals and outperform other retailers in the space.
Walmart has worked for years to grow its healthcare network, making several acquisitions to bolster its telehealth and pharmacy services and place clinics in four different states to provide affordable care to Americans.
And in 2018, Walmart’s board announced an ambitious plan to open 4,000 clinics across the United States by 2029.
But this plan is progressing slowly so far – the company has open only 24 clinics across Georgia, Arkansas, Florida and Illinois.
Kaganoff said it makes sense for Walmart to get into clinical trials because it’s a money-making business. But to surpass existing players like CVS and Walgreens as well as potential new entrants like Amazonthe retailer will need to continue to strengthen its primary care offering and educate the public that Walmart can be a top destination for health care, she said.
“I imagine Walmart will have to really prove itself to a trusted medical provider rather than a fairly cheap place to get checked out,” Kaganoff said.
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