- Kroger Health has partnered with Myriad Genetics to offer its GeneSight pharmacogenomic test to Kroger Health Plan members, according to a company press release.
- The GeneSight test analyzes 12 genes known to impact how 56 common depression treatment medications work. The test helps healthcare professionals provide personalized treatment to patients suffering from depression.
- Kroger will pilot the test across five states at nearly 500 of its 2,200 pharmacies. In a statement, Kroger Health president Colleen Lindholz said the retailer is committed to helping people combat the debilitating disease.
Kroger has long been focused on a variety of aspects of healthcare, and this latest effort addresses a rising issue in the sector. Anxiety disorders, the most common mental illness in the U.S., affect 40 million adults or 18.1% of the U.S. population each year, according to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America.
In its latest earnings call, CEO Rodney McMullen indicated that the company remains interested in healthcare and wellness, especially when it comes to the concept of "food as medicine" where physicians can offer prescription diets to stave off disease and illness-related symptoms. Kroger's additional focus on mental health shows the retailer is working toward a well-rounded approach to health.
The company also has ambitions for a larger healthcare venture. In March, Bloomberg reported that the retailer was in talks with prospective partners in the healthcare industry to identify a new business line and establish another revenue stream.
Kroger has already invested heavily to become a healthcare hotspot, with more than 200 onsite health clinics, pharmacies nationwide and its own membership for prescription drugs. It also recently announced two health-related initiatives for its Harris Teeter and Roundy’s Supermarket banners to help both employees and customers better access health services.
Grocers across the board are looking for new ways to diversify their offerings as price pressure continues to weigh them down. Many retailers are exploring healthcare-related partnerships that target diseases associated with nutrition, diabetes or heart disease. Hy-Vee offered A1C screenings earlier this year, a test that people living with diabetes use to manage their blood glucose levels. Giant Food offers "produce prescriptions" for shoppers in Washington, D.C.
Walmart is also active in the healthcare sector. The company has hosted Walmart Wellness events since 2014, offering 2.5 million free screenings to help users discover health issues that can be managed through modified eating like high blood pressure and diabetes.