Walgreens Boots Alliance takes majority stake in iA

David Salazar
Managing Editor
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The recently rebranded iA has a powerful pharmacy ally in its new majority investor. Walgreens Boots Alliance on Tuesday announced its majority investment in the Johnson City, N.Y.-based pharmacy automation provider, which it said would support iA’s expansion and further development of pharmacy automation solutions that will benefit the entire industry. 

“The role of pharmacists as an integral part of the healthcare system and patients’ care teams has never been more critical,” said Stefano Pessina, executive vice chairman and CEO, Walgreens Boots Alliance.  “The iA mission to further modernize and automate the prescription fulfillment process aligns with our priority to create the pharmacy of the future, reducing operational costs and enabling pharmacists to  spend more time providing valuable healthcare services to patients such as vaccinations, diagnostic  testing and medication management.” 

iA has deep ties to Walgreens Boots Alliance, having been acquired in late 2019 by a consortium of investors led by former WBA CEO Greg Wasson. In April 2020, the company named Marvin Richardson — a 37-year pharmacy and health care veteran — CEO. The company rebranded from Innovation Associates to iA in October. 

WBA noted that the COVID-19 pandemic has accelerated patient need for access to pharmacists’ care, and that iA’s solutions enable pharmacy operators to shift a large portion of medication dispensing labor to central-fill settings, making pharmacists more available to patients. 

“iA is passionately committed to working across all of the pharmacy to ensure that all of our current customers, and any pharmacy across the country, has an opportunity to realize the optimum use and expansion of our software-enabled pharmacy automation solutions,” said Marvin Richardson, CEO of iA.  “Over the past year, we have seen an unprecedented demand for our solutions in order to move pharmacists’ non-patient-facing work out of a store environment, allowing pharmacy providers of any  size and any location to take advantage of the accuracy and efficacy of today’s pharmacy automation solutions while providing improved patient choice and impactful patient care. Together with WBA, we will work to unleash the full potential of pharmacy.”