The Impact of a Severe Flu Season: Americans Missed 230 Million Work Days and Lost $8.5 Billion in Wages in 2012-13, Walgreens

The Impact of a Severe Flu Season: Americans Missed 230 Million Work Days and
 Lost $8.5 Billion in Wages in 2012-13, Walgreens Flu Impact Report Suggests

Survey finds 11 million vacations impacted and 91 million school days missed
during last flu season, triple the number during typical season

PR Newswire

DEERFIELD, Ill., Oct. 16, 2013

DEERFIELD, Ill., Oct. 16, 2013 /PRNewswire/ --The 2012-13 flu season was one
of the most severe in the U.S. in more than a decade and according to a new
study, had two to three times the impact over a more typical flu season on the
workplace, school, family and other segments of people's everyday lives. A new
report from Walgreens (NYSE:WAG) (Nasdaq:WAG) suggests U.S. adults missed 230
million work days last season, while children lost more than 90 million school
days due to flu-related illness. By contrast, 100 million work days and 32
million school days were missed in 2010-11, according to the Walgreens Flu
Impact Report.

Released today, the report examines the broad implications of the flu on
people's everyday lives and the U.S. economy. The latest findings illustrate
the wide-ranging impact of last flu season, as well as stark comparisons to
the 2011 Flu Impact Report, which was conducted following a more typical
season, and also the most recent commissioned by Walgreens.

Flu activity last season peaked in December 2012, coinciding with the winter
holidays and resulting in more than 11 million vacations interrupted or
canceled as a result of the flu, a 300 percent increase over 2011, based on
survey results.

"The flu season is always unpredictable, and the impact it can have on
individuals and families at home and in the workplace can be significant,"
said Harry Leider, M.D., Walgreens chief medical officer."Last year, with flu
peaking early, a lot of people weren't prepared and as a result lost vacations
and missed out on holidays. This underscores the importance of getting a flu
shot early, and our report shows more people are planning to do so, along with
taking other preventive measures this year."

Flu Impact on the Workplace

Nationally, the report suggests the flu-related cost to employers in 2012-13
was $30.4 billion, three times the $10.5 billion impact found in 2010-11,
while employees who missed time at work due to flu-related illness lost more
than $8.5 billion in wages. In addition:

  oEmployees missed, on average, three days of work in 2012-13, compared to
    an average of one day during the 2010-11 season
  o6.2 million Americans missed a business trip in 2012-13 compared to 2
    million in 2010-11
  oThree out of four respondents indicated they were personally impacted by
    the flu last year

Not-So-Festive Holidays for Some

With the peak of last season's flu activity coinciding with the winter
holidays and busy travel season in December, millions of vacations and other
holiday festivities were likely spent in bed, instead. More than two out of
five (42 percent) respondents that had the flu last year missed some sort of
activity as a result. These include:

  oHoliday events missed: 17 million vs. 4.7 million in 2011
  oVacations missed: 11 million vs. 3.6 million in 2011
  oRomantic dates or other occasion missed: 13.8 million vs. 5.1 million in


The term "germ-o-phobic" has become more mainstream in recent years, with the
use of sanitizers on the rise and greater awareness around how germs and
viruses can spread. Nearly two-thirds of those surveyed (60 percent) say they
will take extra precautions to avoid the flu this year, including washing
hands more frequently (87 percent), getting a flu shot earlier (51 percent),
getting flu shots for family members (49 percent), limiting time in public
places (43 percent) and trying working from home more often (11 percent).

Lessons Learned from Last Season

Although the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends that
people get a flu shot as soon as vaccine becomes available, typically in

  oNearly one-third (31 percent) of the 2012-13 survey respondents waited
    until November or later to get their vaccine
  oWalgreens data shows 20 percent of the 7 million flu shots administered at
    Walgreens (including Healthcare Clinics and Duane Reade) last season were
    administered in January
  oNearly four out of every five (79%) Americans believe that it takes 10
    days or less, after receiving the flu shot, for the body to build up full
    immunity; in reality it takes up to 14 days

The full Walgreens Flu Impact Report can be found here:


The Flu Impact Survey was conducted online within the United States by USamp
on behalf of Walgreens from Aug. 27 to Sept. 4, 2013, among 1,200 nationally
representative adults ages 18 and older. Flu Impact Report results were
balanced on key demographics to allow projection of results to the entire U.S.
adult population. Results are based on self-reported instances of the flu and
flu-like symptoms. Projections incorporate the latest data available for
average compensation and hours worked from the Bureau of Labor Statistics,
population data and projections from the United States Census and compared
against beta Flu Work Loss models developed by the Centers for Disease Control
and Prevention. The margin of error for the national sample is +/-2.9 percent
reported at a 95 percent confidence level.

About Walgreens

As the nation's largest drugstore chain with fiscal 2013 sales of $72 billion,
Walgreens ( vision is to be the first choice in health and
daily living for everyone in America, and beyond. Each day, Walgreens provides
more than 6 million customers the most convenient, multichannel access to
consumer goods and services and trusted, cost-effective pharmacy, health and
wellness services and advice in communities across America. Walgreens scope of
pharmacy services includes retail, specialty, infusion, medical facility and
mail service, along with respiratory services. These services improve health
outcomes and lower costs for payers including employers, managed care
organizations, health systems, pharmacy benefit managers and the public
sector. The company operates 8,123 drugstores in all 50 states, the District
of Columbia, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands. Take Care Health Systems
is a Walgreens subsidiary that is the largest and most comprehensive manager
of worksite health and wellness centers, provider practices, and in-store
convenient care clinics, with more than 750 locations throughout the country.

SOURCE Walgreens

Contact: Jim Cohn, (847) 315-2950
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