Shoppers Drug Mart Inc., a subsidiary of Loblaw Companies Ltd., will invest $75 million in Maple Corporation, a leading virtual care provider in Canada, in exchange for a material minority stake in the company.
Maple is a 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 Canadians need new ways, particularly virtual ways, to get access to care,” said Shoppers Drug Mart president Jeff Leger. “We know the future of healthcare is digitally enabled. We believe 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.”
Maple virtual care is currently available in more than 160 Shoppers Drug Mart locations in British Columbia.
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.
“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,” said Maple CEO Dr. Brett Belchetz. “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.”