Kroger Health launches clinical trials in pharmacies and Little Clinic locations

Kroger Co. is a new retailer looking to leverage its consumer relationships to gain a stake in the clinical trial space.

Its healthcare arm, Kroger Health, is recruiting participants for the Argonaut clinical trial, sponsored by Persephone Biosciences, which identifies biomarkers indicative of colorectal cancer and other types of solid tumors to help guide treatment options. Starting in the Toledo, Ohio area, select Kroger pharmacies and The Little Clinic locations will enroll an initial cohort of 55 people with varying levels of risk for the disease. Kroger plans to add members and locations over the next year.

Kroger Health said its data analysis capabilities will allow it to reach a wider range of people for clinical trials, including underserved communities that often remain outside the research process. The Cincinnati-based company said its team of clinics, dietitians and pharmacies, and partnerships with healthcare organizations will help with comprehensive trial management.

Kroger operates more than 2,200 pharmacies and 226 clinics in 35 states.

A Kroger spokesperson did not immediately respond to a request for launch details, including expansion plans and financial investments, or interviews with executives.

Kroger’s involvement follows a growing trend among retailers looking to scale clinical trial operations. CVS Health launched its clinical trials division in 2021, with Walgreens following suit in mid-2022. Later, in 2022, Walmart announced its intention to begin recruiting clinical trial participants, putting it in competition with two drugstore chains.

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