Walgreens expands specialty pharmacy and investment in gene therapy

 Walgreens expands specialty pharmacy and investment in gene therapy

Photo: Joe Raedle/Getty Images

Walgreens is expanding its specialty pharmacy services, and is making investments in gene- and cell-therapy services.

Walgreens Specialty Pharmacy is aimed at expanding access to care for patients with complex, chronic conditions, such as cancer, cystic fibrosis and Crohn’s disease.

An 18,000 square-foot Gene and Cell Services Pharmacy and Innovation Center in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, will manage the complexity of the supply chain, logistics and financing, as well as clinical- and social-needs management, Walgreens said.

There are also four central specialty pharmacies that hold distinctions in oncology and rare/orphan conditions, and nearly 300 community-based specialty pharmacies nationwide. According to Walgreens, this is more than any other pharmacy. 

The specialty pharmacies are located near medical office buildings and health systems, offering patients fast access to specialty medications, as well as services such as injection training, medication side-effect management and financial assistance coordination for medications.

There is a growing roster of 240 limited distribution drugs, including 40 narrow networks and 12 exclusive limited distribution drugs.


Effective August 1, AllianceRx Walgreens Pharmacy will become Walgreens Specialty Pharmacy.

The focus is on bringing convenient access to hard-to-find medications and critical adherence support, the company said.

The model enables more comprehensive care to ultimately help payers better manage specialty costs.

Patients will have access to clinicians with key disease state expertise, nutritionists and care nurses. Specialty patients can also view their entire prescription profile at Walgreens, including their retail prescriptions.

The newly formed integrated care model is expected to drive cost savings and efficiencies in care by uniting the company’s pharmacy teams and distribution network across providers, pharmaceutical manufacturers, health plans and payers.

This will accelerate Walgreens growth in one of the fastest-growing market segments, the company said.

“With approximately $24 billion in annual enterprise specialty revenue, Walgreens Specialty Pharmacy is the largest independent provider that offers the industry’s most robust specialty capabilities not vertically aligned with a pharmacy benefit manager,” said Rick Gates, chief pharmacy officer, Walgreens. “We have the flexibility to contract dynamically with any payer. We can partner directly with pharmaceutical manufacturers to facilitate products to market, including limited distribution drugs, and coordinate closely with providers to ensure patients experience a smooth start to treatment.”


The launch of Walgreens Specialty Pharmacy is the company’s latest initiative aimed at expanding the role of its pharmacy teams. It further supports efforts to achieve provider status for its pharmacists.

Walgreens’ wholly-owned subsidiary Shields Health Solutions will continue working with over 1,000 hospitals in 45 states to support health systems specialty pharmacies.

Specialty medications account for more than 50% of prescription drug spend in the United States, due to the increasing prevalence of chronic disease. 

Email the writer: SMorse@himss.org

Source link

Related post

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *