Why the Walgreens Providence Alliance is Very, Very Bad News

Recently the Seattle Times reported that nineteen groups, including the American Civil Liberties Union, had signed a letter asking questions about a new deal under which Providence Health Systems would provide health services in Walgreen clinics.

What was not included in that report is the fact that Walgreens recently announced that it is taking over Rite-Aid in an all-cash deal worth more than $17 billion, a deal which would make it the largest pharmacy in the country.

So now we have the largest pharmacy chain in the country linking up with a Catholic health care ministry that systematically deprives patients of medically appropriate services, including contraception.

What could go wrong?

There are more than 130 Rite-Aid stores in Washington State, which is also home to the highest percentage of health systems under Catholic ownership/control.

A linkage between the hundreds of Walgreen/Rite-Aid pharmacies in Washington State and Providence Health, which follows the Ethical and Religious Directives for Catholic Health Care, has potential to dramatically limit access to legal, medically appropriate care.

Who will stand up to protect patients and physicians from the increasing power of religiously-directed health care ministries and their expansion into pharmacy-based services?



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2 thoughts on “Why the Walgreens Providence Alliance is Very, Very Bad News

  1. Lorie Lucky

    Again, the impact of this arrangement would be primarily on low-income citizens, would it not? Aren’t low income people more likely to access a neighborhood drugstore for health care than people with health plans and established relationships with primary-care providers?
    Do providers in drug stores actually have the authority to prescribe drugs, whether for contraception or anything else? I want to know exactly what kind of “health care” services one can receive at Walgreens, but I wouldn’t trust a drug store with something, say, like a dermatology problem or a broken bone, not to mention measles or tonsillitis in children. Sure, I can get a flu shot at my Safeway pharmacy, but I’m not sure I’d want them to do anything beyond that.

  2. Susan Rosser

    This Is so frightening. Although I will continue to have the legal right to determine my health care,if my health care decisions conflict with catholic dogma my decisions will be thwarted.Specifically my decisions related to reproductive and end of life care. If Walgreens becomes affiliated with Providence (or any other catholic owned health provider), your health care decisions will be meaningless.


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