TORONTO, Sept. 15, 2020 /CNW/ - (TSX: L): Loblaw Companies Ltd ("Loblaw" or the "Company") has taken a significant step forward on its journey to provide Canadians with the convenience and security of a digitally connected healthcare network. Today, the Company announced that its wholly owned subsidiary Shoppers Drug Mart Inc. ("Shoppers Drug Mart") will invest $75 million in Maple Corporation ("Maple"), the leading virtual care provider in Canada, in exchange for a material minority stake in the company (the "Transaction").
Maple is a thriving Canadian telemedicine provider that allows patients to connect online with a variety of healthcare professionals, including general practitioners, specialists and allied health professionals. As the country evolves to a more digitally enabled healthcare system, telemedicine/virtual care has emerged as a key enabler of reliable and convenient access to care. This investment is an important step as Shoppers Drug Mart looks to make this service more accessible, with a goal to provide a seamless experience for patients as they move between virtual and in-person care.
"The COVID-19 pandemic has proven that Canadians need new ways, particularly virtual ways, to get access to care," said Jeff Leger, President, Shoppers Drug Mart. "We know that the future of healthcare is digitally enabled. We believe that our store network and infrastructure, combined with Maple's technology can help better connect Canadians to the healthcare support they need, whenever and wherever they are."
Prior to the Transaction, Shoppers Drug Mart worked closely with Maple on two strategic initiatives that gave the Company an opportunity to more deeply understand Maple's service offering. Maple virtual care is currently available in more than 160 Shoppers Drug Mart locations in British Columbia. Additionally, in the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic, the two companies worked together to make virtual care more accessible for Canadians. In less than a month, this initiative enabled nearly 20,000 virtual care visits, during a time when Canadians were asked to stay home and stay safe. In addition to these initiatives, Maple's strong history of implementing custom telehealth solutions for governments, hospitals, employers, and insurers made the investment in Maple an attractive choice.
"We've watched virtual care solve some of the most complex healthcare issues around the globe, as well as right here in Canada through our own programs," says Dr. Brett Belchetz, CEO and Co-Founder of Maple. "We're thrilled to work hand-in-hand with Shoppers Drug Mart to bring the reliable, convenient, and high-quality access to care that we've developed over the past five years to more Canadians than ever before."
Led by Shoppers Drug Mart, the leader in Canada's retail drug store marketplace and the number one provider of pharmacy products and services, Loblaw offers full-service pharmacies and professional care from 5,000 healthcare professionals in more than 1,800 locations in 10 provinces and 2 territories. The investment in Maple is another critical building block in Loblaw's connected healthcare strategy, along with:
- QHR, a leader in the electronic medical records (EMR) market, providing software and a virtual care service (Medeo) for healthcare providers and their patients
- Wellwise, a retail experience from Shoppers Drug Mart, created for Canadians who want to take charge of the way they age
- The Health Clinic by Shoppers, managed primary-care and family practice clinics, providing patients with convenient, one-stop access to medical services and trusted advice
About Shoppers Drug Mart Inc.
Shoppers Drug Mart Inc. is one of the most recognized and trusted names in Canadian retailing. The company is the licensor of full-service retail drug stores operating under the name Shoppers Drug Mart (Pharmaprix in Québec). With almost 1,300 Shoppers Drug Mart® and Pharmaprix® stores operating in prime locations in each province and two territories, the company is one of the most convenient retailers in Canada. The company also licenses or owns 47 medical clinic pharmacies operating under the name Shoppers Simply Pharmacy® (Pharmaprix Simplement Santé® in Québec), and provides cosmetic dermatology services at two standalone The Beauty Clinic by Shoppers™ locations. As well, the company owns and operates 43 corporate Wellwise by Shoppers Drug Mart™ stores and an ecommerce site Wellwise.ca, making it the largest Canadian retailer of home health care products and services. In addition to its retail store network, the company owns the Medical Cannabis by Shoppers online platform for the sale of medical cannabis, Shoppers Drug Mart Specialty Health Network Inc., a provider of specialty drug distribution, pharmacy and comprehensive patient support services, and MediSystem Inc., a provider of pharmaceutical products and services to long-term care facilities. Shoppers Drug Mart is an independent operating division of Loblaw Companies Limited.
Maple is a technology platform that tackles some of the world's most meaningful issues in healthcare, starting with timely and convenient access to doctors and other healthcare providers including dermatologists, psychiatrists, and oncology navigation experts. It allows patients to connect directly with doctors and specialists for medical care in minutes from their smartphone or computer 24/7, and also provides custom technology solutions for employers, insurers, hospitals, and clinics. Learn more at getmaple.ca.
This press release may contain forward-looking information within the meaning of applicable securities legislation, which reflects Loblaw's current expectations regarding future events. Forward-looking information is based on a number of assumptions and is subject to a number of risks and uncertainties, many of which are beyond Loblaw's control that could cause actual results and events to differ materially from those that are disclosed in or implied by such forward-looking information. Such risks and uncertainties include, but are not limited to, the factors discussed in Loblaw's 2019 Annual Report, current Annual Information Form and 2020 Second Quarter Report. Loblaw does not undertake any obligation to update such forward-looking information, whether as a result of new information, future events or otherwise, except as expressly required by applicable law. All forward-looking statements contained in this press release are made as of the date hereof and are qualified by these cautionary statements.
SOURCE Loblaw Companies Limited