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Walgreens (WBA) Expands Access to COVID-19 Test With LabCorp

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Walgreens Boots Alliance, Inc.’s (WBA - Free Report) U.S. business wing Walgreens, in collaboration with Laboratory Corporation of America Holdings, Inc. (LH - Free Report) , or LabCorp, announced the nationwide availability of “Pixel by LabCorp COVID-19 at-home collection kit” at no cost to individuals who meet clinical guidelines. The addition of the kits in Walgreens will enable more communities to access reliable, convenient testing services as and when required.

With the expansion of access to COVID-19 testing solutions, Walgreens continues to play a vital role in the nation’s pandemic response efforts.

Pixel by LabCorp COVID-19 Test at a Glance

In April 2020, LabCorp launched at-home collection kits for COVID-19 PCR testing, which are now available through its LabCorp OnDemand platform, which includes a suite of the company’s most popular tests like its wellness, allergy, COVID-19, women’s health and fertility tests.

Individuals can order LabCorp COVID-19 at-home kit at no cost for individuals two years of age and older. Testing appointments can be scheduled through the LabCorp OnDemand platform. After completing the tests, individuals can drop the samples at more than 6,000 Walgreens locations or a FedEx drop-off location using the pre-paid FedEx Priority Overnight bag provided.

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In addition to the new program, Walgreens offers free drive-thru testing for everyone aged three and above at more than 7,000 locations nationwide, with more than half of Walgreens COVID-19 testing sites located in socially vulnerable areas.

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Walgreens also offers over-the-counter tests for purchases online and at stores. For reimbursement of over-the-counter tests, customers need to check with their pharmacist if their plan offers coverage with no out-of-pocket cost.

Significations of the Collaboration

Per Walgreens’ management, Walgreens focuses on reducing healthcare barriers, including cost and transportation. Through continued partnership with LabCorp and U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), communities will have better access to convenient COVID-19 PCR testing, mainly uninsured, socially vulnerable and medically underserved populations, who continue to be among those most impacted by COVID-19.

As regions across the country relax COVID-19 restrictions, testing will continue to play an important role as people return to their pre-pandemic routine activities. Expanding the offerings to provide LabCorp COVID-19 at-home collection kits to Walgreens’ customers will make testing within reach for more individuals across the country.

Industry Prospects

Per a report by Grand View Research, the global COVID-19 diagnostics market size is estimated at $84.4 billion in 2020 and is expected to see a CAGR of 3.1% by 2027. The rising government initiatives targeted toward implementing mass testing are driving the market.

COVID-Related Developments by Walgreens

During the first quarter of fiscal 2022 earnings update, Walgreens noted that it has administered more than 15.6 million COVID-19 vaccinations and 6.5 million COVID-19 tests during the quarter. In November 2021, the company started administering COVID-19 vaccinations to children aged five to 11 in thousands of stores across the United States.

In the same month, Walgreens announced that individuals over the age of 18 can now receive a Pfizer, Moderna or Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine booster in stores nationwide. This announcement comes after the FDA’s recent decision to extend Emergency Use Authorization for Pfizer and Moderna booster vaccines to people aged 18 and above, in addition to the new guidance issued by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

Price Performance

Shares of the company have lost 3.1% in a year against the industry's rise of 29.8%.

Zacks Rank and Key Picks

Walgreens currently carries a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold).

A couple of better-ranked stocks in the broader medical space are McKesson Corporation (MCK - Free Report) and AMN Healthcare Services, Inc. (AMN - Free Report) .

McKesson, carrying a Zacks Rank #2 (Buy), reported third-quarter fiscal 2022 adjusted earnings per share (EPS) of $6.15, which beat the Zacks Consensus Estimate of $5.38 by 14.3%. You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 (Strong Buy) Rank stocks here.

McKesson has a long-term earnings growth rate of 11.8%. MCK has gained 55.8% compared with the industry’s 11.4% growth in the past year.

AMN Healthcare, carrying a Zacks Rank #1, has a long-term earnings growth rate of 16.2%. The company surpassed earnings estimates in the trailing four quarters, delivering a surprise of 19.5%, on average.

AMN Healthcare has outperformed its industry over the past year. AMN has gained 33.4% against the 56.7% industry decline.