15 mind-blowing facts about Walgreens

  • Walgreens is one of the largest pharmacy chains in the United States.
  • The retailer’s holding company, Walgreens Boots Alliance, also operates thousands of stores around the world.
  • To better picture the company’s scale, Business Insider spoke to a Walgreens spokesperson and reviewed the company’s most recent Securities and Exchange Commission filing.
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

Walgreens is one of the biggest players in the pharmaceutical field.

Walgreens Boots Alliance, the official name of the chain’s holding company, operates thousands of stores. People around the world rely on these stores for their pharmaceutical needs, from prescription drugs to flu shots.

Read more: 9 mind-blowing facts about Walmart

A Walgreens spokesperson shared a statement with Business Insider regarding the the retailer’s sheer scale. We also picked out a few remarkable statistics from the company’s most recent Securities and Exchange Commission 10-K filing.

Here are a few facts that capture Walgreens’ immense size:


Walgreens was first founded in 1909, although it had a predecessor that launched eight years prior.

Source: Walgreens


A spokesperson told Business Insider that Walgreens became “the first major chain to put prescriptions into child-resistant containers” in 1968.


The spokesperson added that the company has a number of other innovations under its belt, including the malted milkshake. This treat was concocted at a Walgreens counter in 1922, according to the spokesperson.


The chain also introduced the electronic prescription in 1992, also known as Walgreens’ “Pre-Scribe software,” according to the spokesperson.


These days, a Walgreens spokesperson told Business Insider that the pharmacy chain “fills more than one prescription from a mobile device” every second.


In fiscal year 2018, Walgreens filled a total of 1.1 billion prescriptions, adjusted to 30 day equivalents, according to the company’s most recent SEC filing.

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Reuters/Elijah Nouvelage

Source: Walgreens


Six million customers visit Walgreens every day, while two million people check out the company’s various “digital properties,” according to a spokesperson.


Walgreens Boots Alliance, the holding company that owns Walgreens, boasts a total of 18,500 stores in 11 countries, as well as 390 distribution centers that cater to 20 countries.

Source: Walgreens


The holding company operates a total of 9,560 Walgreens and Duane Reade stores in the US …

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A customer walks out of a Walgreens pharmacy store in Austin, Texas
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Mohammad Khursheed/Reuters

Source: Walgreens


… and 4,767 stores outside the US, including the chain stores Boots, Benavides, and Ahumada.

Source: Walgreens


If you live in the US, you’re probably right near a Walgreens. A spokesperson told Business Insider that 78% of the population “lives within five miles” of a Walgreens, a Duane Reade, or a Walgreens-owned Rite Aid store.


Walgreens Boots Alliance employed over 354,000 people as of August 31, 2018.

Source: Walgreens


The company also employs “85,000 healthcare service providers, including pharmacists, pharmacy technicians, nurse practitioners” and other healthcare providers. These workers are a mix of employees and third-party partners.

Source: Walgreens


A Walgreens spokesperson told Business Insider that the company “has collected and safely disposed more than 1.2 million pounds of unused or unwanted medications to date.”

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Business Insider/Jessica Tyler

A Walgreens spokesperson told Business Insider that, by partnering up with the UN Foundation, the company “has provided more than 34 million life-saving vaccines for children around the world through its ‘Get A Shot. Give A Shot.’ campaign.”