Take Care Clinics in Walgreen drugstores will start treating medical conditions such as diabetes, asthma and high blood pressure, which are typically handled by doctors.
Drugstore clinics, which are run by nurse practitioners or physician assistants, have been providing immunizations, physicals and treatment for minor illnesses, reports the Associated Press.
However, not everyone in the medical field is pleased. Some doctors offices see Walgreen and other drug stores, such as CVS and Rite Aid, who also have in-store clinics, as competition.
"Our concern is that expansion of retail clinics from urgent care into chronic care means they may get a piece of their diabetes here, blood pressure there," Dr. Jeffrey J. Cain, President of the American Academy of Family Physicians, told Bloomberg News. "Our health care system is already fragmented."
"We're filling a niche for patients who need access," counters Dr. Alan E. London, chief medical officer for Walgreen's Take Care Clinics. "When we uncover gaps in care and we're capable of closing those gaps, it's the right thing to do."
Nearly half of the patients who receive treatment at Walgreen clinics don't have a primary care doctor, according to Dr. London.
Sources: Associated Press and Bloomberg News