The Evolution of Pharmacies

Bob Zimmerman

A lot has changed since a pharmacy was just a place to pick up prescriptions. Bob Zimmerman, former SVP of Corporate Development and Chief Strategy Officer at Walgreens, tells us that big name traditional drug stores like Walgreens, CVS, and Rite Aid, have made themselves so convenient and accessible that they have bifurcated the shopping industry. He argues that for many customers, pharmacies are mid-week shopping destinations over local food chains. What’s more, the role of the pharmacist has expanded; with licensing and regulations allowing pharmacists to administer immunizations, many pharmacies have been transformed to function as small-scale medical clinics. For Zimmerman, this shift has been instrumental in making not only medical services and care more accessible, but food and convenience products, as well.

Bob Zimmerman was the International Chief Administration Officer and Senior Vice President of International at Walgreen Co., from 2012 to 2014. He served as the Chief Strategy Officer and Senior Vice President of Walgreen Co., from 2011 to 2012. Prior to that, he worked as the Chief Administration Officer and Chief Finance Officer of Walgreens Health Services (WHS), Corporate Vice President of Walgreen Co., and Divisional Vice President of WHS. Zimmerman joined Walgreens in 1977 as an Analyst in the results department and served as manager of strategic planning beginning in 1985. He was involved in planning and developing Walgreens Health Services’ managed care division since its inception. Zimmerman is also a member of the National Association of Chain Drug Stores and the Association of Managed Care Pharmacists (AMCP).