A specialty pharmacy and mail services company created by Walgreens and Eagan-based Prime Therapeutics officially launched on Monday.
 
Going by the name AllianceRx Walgreens Prime, the new company creates closer ties between Walgreens’ and Prime’s business operations. By partnering opening a joint company, both companies claim their increased size will allow for better negotiating power with pharmaceutical companies, resulting in cheaper drugs.
 
Back when the two companies announced AllianceRx last August, Prime CEO Jim DuCharme voiced hope that the new company would help “apply the brakes to this run-away freight train of rising drug costs.”
 
By the time AllianceRx launched Monday, he said many of Prime’s 22 million customers were seeing improvements. “Already, the retail pharmacy network component of our alliance is yielding considerable savings for our plans and their members,” DuCharme said, “as fully 50 percent of Prime’s members have transitioned into a network anchored by Walgreens.”
 
Over the years, Prime has grown to be the nation’s fourth-largest pharmacy benefit manager (PBM) with nearly $5 billion in annual revenue. The company works alongside employers and government health programs like Medicare by negotiating deals on drugs with pharmaceutical companies. About two-thirds of Prime’s 3,600 staff members are Minnesota-based.
 
AllianceRx will employ 3,000 workers at its Orlando headquarters, which are a mix of current Walgreens and Prime employees, including Prime workers currently stationed at Prime’s Orlando office. Those workers will manage specialty pharmacy operations and several mail services that, according to AllianceRx, will allow for specialty medicines and other drugs to be either mailed to a patient’s home or picked up from any of Walgreens’ approximately 8,200 locations.
 
Joel Wright was named chief executive of the new company. He was formerly the divisional vice president for specialty solutions at Walgreens.
 
“Leveraging Walgreens pharmacy network and operational efficiencies, along with the pharmacy benefit management expertise of Prime, we have the resources to deliver better care coordination, patient outcomes, and exceptional care and service to patients and payers,” Wright said in a statement. “We’ll be well positioned to meet the evolving prescriptions drugs needs of customers.”
 
In their agreement, Walgreens’ parent company, Walgreens Boots Alliance Inc., will account for AllianceRx in its financial statements. Full integration of the new company into Walgreens Boots Alliance is expected to be complete by early next year.

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