Walgreens, OptumRx form pharmacy partnership

March 22, 2016

The new partnership between Walgreens Boots Alliance and OptumRx may signal that Walgreens is not looking to buy another PBM.

The new partnership between Walgreens Boots Alliance and OptumRx may signal that Walgreens is not looking to buy another PBM.

While Wall Street analysts had expected Walgreens to purchase a PBM such as Express Scripts, the new partnership may preclude that. In fact, the news sent Express Scripts stock tumbling the day it was announced.

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However, Walgreens cannot “comment on speculation about future arrangements,” Walgreens spokesperson Michael Polzin told FormularyWatch.

Walgreens and OptumRx, the PBM arm of UnitedHealth Group, said they are integrating Walgreen’s in-store pharmacy capabilities and OptumRx’s “advanced pharmacy services.”

“OptumRx’s differentiated pharmacy care services model creating smarter health care connections will be a strong fit with the more than 27,000 Walgreens pharmacists who interact with and support millions of patients on a daily basis,” said Alex Gourlay, president of Walgreens.

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The new integrated pharmacy care offering will provide eligible OptumRx members the option to fill 90-day prescriptions at home delivery copay levels at any of Walgreens nearly 8,200 pharmacies nationwide or through OptumRx home delivery.

OptumRx and Walgreens systems will be able to better connect and communicate health data and analytics, to ensure members receive the most effective prescription drugs at the right cost, according to a statement from OptumRx.

Plus, Walgreens and OptumRx expect higher treatment adherence rates and better patient outcomes by “giving patients the choice of how to receive their medications along with 24/7 pharmacist availability,” OptumRx said.

The service also connects members to clinical guidance that addresses specific disease classes, such as diabetes, and increases drug adherence.

The partnership is expected to go into effect January 1, 2017.

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