October 4, 2023

A customer walks into a Dollar General Corp. store on Wednesday, September 10, 2014. in Colona, ​​Illinois, USA.

Daniel Acker | Bloomberg | Getty Images

Dollar General announced on Wednesday that it has hired its first chief medical officer and will be putting products such as cold and cough medicines and dentures on shelves to become a healthcare destination.

CEO Todd Vasos said the company’s new foray was inspired by customers who want more convenient and affordable health products and services.

“Our goal is to build and improve affordable health services for our customers, especially in the rural communities we serve,” he said in a press release.

The fast-growing discounter has more than 17,000 stores across the country, including many in rural areas that don’t have many other grocery stores or large pharmacies nearby. However, it has also been criticized by some lawmakers for selling few healthy foods such as fresh fruits and vegetables, crowding out other retailers who would otherwise open up in the areas and sell a wider range of foods.

In recent years, Dollar General has added fresh produce and meat to more of its business. It has fresh produce in more than 1,300 stores – or about 7% of its total stores. It has announced that the range can be expanded to up to 10,000 stores.

The retailer said he had Dr. Albert Wu hired as Chief Medical Officer. He previously worked for McKinsey & Company, where he led a team focused on health-related projects such as:

Wu joined Dollar General on Monday, according to a press release. Dollar General said it will focus on building relationships with companies that offer health products and services so the retailer can launch their own offerings.