Walgreen Co. plans to acquire Carle RxExpress pharmacies from The Carle Foundation, a health care system in central Illinois.

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Walgreens to buy Carle RxExpress pharmacies

April 28th, 2011

DEERFIELD, Ill. – Walgreen Co. plans to acquire Carle RxExpress pharmacies from The Carle Foundation, a health care system in central Illinois.

Financial terms of the deal weren't disclosed. Walgreens said Thursday that under the agreement, it's purchasing all 10 Carle RxExpress pharmacy locations in east central Illinois, including four sites in Urbana, two in Champaign and one each in Bloomington, Danville, Mahomet and Monticello.

Walgreens said it plans to continue operating six of the Carle RxExpress pharmacies and close three other locations, whose prescription files and inventory will be transferred to nearby Walgreens drug stores.

The remaining Carle RxExpress location will be consolidated with one of the six pharmacies that will continue to operate, according to Walgreens, which expects to finalize the acquisition by July.

Walgreens reported that it has committed to hire most of the Carle RxExpress employees and will interview RxExpress employees who apply for positions.

"We are pleased to maintain convenient access to high-quality pharmacy, health and wellness services for Carle RxExpress patients across east central Illinois," Scott Haynes, Walgreens' market vice president for central Illinois, said in a statement. "We are working with Carle to make this transition as seamless as possible and quickly introduce our new customers to the expanded services that have helped build Walgreens' reputation for patient care in the region. We also look forward to welcoming many of Carle's staff members who will help us continue its tradition of service to these communities."

Based in Urbana, Ill., The Carle Foundation is a nonprofit, integrated network of health care services, encompassing Carle Foundation Hospital, Carle Physician Group and Health Alliance Medical Plans. The three entities united into one organization last April.

On the Carle RxExpress website, the foundation stated, "The Carle Foundation has decided to sell Carle RxExpress to Walgreens. Walgreens was selected because of its comprehensive national resources, ability to provide you with greater pharmacy access, competitive pricing and a wider selection of products and services. Also, we chose Walgreens because they were willing to commit to hiring a majority of Carle RxExpress employees — the same employees you have grown to know and trust over the years."

Carle said its two of its pharmacies in Urbana and the one in Danville will be closed effective May 31, and customer files at those locations will be transferred to the nearest Walgreens store. 

Walgreens has continued to make fill-in acquisitions to expand the geographic coverage of its store base, which now totals approximately 7,700 drug stores in all 50 states, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico.

Its most recent brick-and-mortar pharmacy acquisition came last September, when it announced a deal to buy 18 ApothecaryRx pharmacies from Graymark Healthcare Inc. Earlier in 2010, Walgreens also unveiled agreements to acquire 17 Ike's and Super D drug stores in the Memphis, Tenn., area from USA Drug; the 250-store Duane Reade chain in metropolitan New York; three Farmacias El Amal stores in Puerto Rico plus prescription files from 11 other El Amal pharmacies; and Snyders Drug Stores' 25 company-owned stores in Minnesota from Katz Group North America.

And late last month, in a move to boost its e-commerce business, Walgreens agreed to acquire Internet retailer drugstore.com in a deal valued at $409 million.