US: Walgreens to Form Strategic Alliance With Prime Therapeutics

Walgreens and Prime Therapeutics (Prime), the fourth-largest pharmacy benefit manager (PBM) in the US, have announced a long-term alliance that includes a new retail pharmacy network agreement and the combination of the companies’ central specialty pharmacy and mail service businesses.

The two companies said the alliance introduces a new model that aligns pharmacy, PBM and health plans to coordinate patient care, improve health outcomes and deliver cost of care opportunities. The retail pharmacy network agreement will give Prime’s health plan and employer clients access to the preferred Walgreens pharmacy network. They added that Prime’s 22 million members may also benefit from personalised pharmacy services and cost saving opportunities when filling their prescriptions at Walgreens. The combined central specialty and mail services company, owned by Prime and Walgreens, is expected to provide significant operating and purchasing efficiencies.

“The prescription drug needs of consumers are often changing, and this unique collaboration will help us deliver value, care and service to our patients and the communities we serve,” said Alex Gourlay, co-chief operating officer at Walgreens Boots Alliance.

“Walgreens has a long history of working with our business partners to create new solutions to help improve access and patient care, and we look forward to providing a differentiated and patient-led pharmacy experience to more Prime members.”

The two companies said the alliance will also bring together Walgreens national pharmacy network and operating efficiencies with the pharmacy benefit management expertise of Prime. Payers will be able to leverage integrated medical and pharmacy data for better cost control and health outcomes management, while Prime, Walgreens and the combined specialty and mail service company will work together to utilise Walgreens omni-channel services and resources to help improve medication adherence and health outcomes for patients.

“With costs rising at unsustainable rates, we must take strong and decisive action to make health care more affordable,” said Jim DuCharme, CEO and president of Prime. “We’re trying to apply the brakes to this run-away freight train of rising drug costs by aligning the cost control expertise of the trusted Blue + Prime model with Walgreens supply chain capabilities and sending a message that we are on board with finding a solution to this issue. We believe that the care, value and commitment that we will deliver together will create benefits to our Blue Plan clients and members.”

NAM Implications:

  • All part of a global fill-in by WBA…
  • Whilst this alignment of pharmacy, PBM and health plans to coordinate patient care, improve health outcomes and deliver cost of care opportunities is obviously US –centric…
  • ….it could form a template for adaptation elsewhere?
  • To stimulate some in-house thinking, how about feeding possible NHS privatisation into the mix?