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Kroger dives deeper into health care, enters clinical trial space

The health care division of The Kroger Co. has launched a network of clinical trial sites at select Kroger pharmacies and retail clinics.

Kroger Health said it will collaborate with pharmaceutical sponsors, contract research organizations and health systems to conduct the clinical trials. The announcement comes with Kroger's first trial, which is related to colorectal cancer, already in active recruitment.

Kroger Health has more than 2,200 pharmacies and 220 Little Clinic sites in 35 states serving more than 17 million customers.  The company said 90% of the U.S. population lives within five miles of a pharmacy, and 51% of all Kroger stores are located in “socially vulnerable” areas — allowing Kroger Health to engage a wider range of the population in clinical trials.

With our team of more than 24,000 healthcare professionals, under the umbrella of America's grocer, we are positioned at the nexus of food and healthcare, which provides us with the unique opportunity to increase accessibility to clinical trial opportunities," said Colleen Lindholz, president, Kroger Health. "As a trusted community healthcare destination, we envision a future where our work transforms the clinical trial landscape and provides expanded trial access to the people we serve."

Kroger is not the only retailer in the clinical trial space. In June, Walgreens launched a clinical trail platform. In October, Walmart unveiled the clinical trial-focused Walmart Healthcare Research Institute.

In 2021, CVS Health launched its Clinical Trial Services business focused on patient recruitment, delivering clinical trials in multiple ways and generating real-world evidence on therapies and devices.

Kroger Health is working with Persephone Biosciences on the study related to colorectal cancer. Beginning in the Toledo, Ohio area, select Kroger pharmacies and The Little Clinic locations will enroll its initial cohort of 55 people with a variety of colorectal cancer risk levels. During the next year, the company plans to enroll additional participants and increase its locations. 

"Through our collaborations with health systems across the country, we can nimbly work to optimize the patient experience to improve healthcare delivery and maintain continuity of care while expanding the frontiers of care and treatment," said Jim Kirby, PharmD, chief commercial officer of Kroger Health. "This is the first of many clinical trial opportunities that will utilize us as an alternative to the traditional clinical trial and research organization model."

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