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Walgreens creates strategic alliance with PBM Prime Therapeutics


DEERFIELD, Ill. – Walgreens and PBM Prime Therapeutics on Monday introduced a new model that aligns pharmacy, PBM and health plans to coordinate patient care, improve health outcomes and deliver cost of care opportunities. The two companies announced a long-term strategic partnership Monday that combines Walgreens' massive pharmacy network with the fourth-largest pharmacy benefit manager.

“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,” stated Alex Gourlay, co-COO 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.”

“With costs rising at unsustainable rates, we must take strong and decisive action to make health care more affordable,” commented 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.”

The new long-term strategic alliance creates a new retail pharmacy network agreement and the combination of the companies’ central specialty pharmacy and mail service businesses between one of the largest retail pharmacies with the nation’s fourth largest PBM that's owned by 14 leading Blue Cross and Blue Shield health plans.

The retail pharmacy network agreement will give Prime’s health plan and employer clients access to the preferred Walgreens pharmacy network.  Prime’s 22 million members may also benefit from personalized 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 operating and purchasing efficiencies on par with industry leaders.   

The alliance also brings 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 utilize Walgreens omni-channel services and resources to help improve medication adherence and health outcomes for patients.

Prime will continue to support client-specific network choices for health plans; however Walgreens will be the core participant in Prime’s national preferred pharmacy network, beginning Jan. 1, 2017.

The combined central specialty and mail services company will be governed by a separate board of directors and executive team, which will be selected by Walgreens and Prime. Leadership decisions for the company will be announced later this year.

The combined company will be consolidated by Walgreens Boots Alliance, Inc., the parent company of Walgreens, in its financial statements. The transaction, which is subject to the expiration or termination of applicable waiting periods under the Hart-Scott-Rodino Antitrust Improvements Act of 1976, as amended, and other customary closing conditions, is expected to close in the first half of calendar 2017.


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