Walgreens Boots Alliance said Monday that it had reached a deal to combine its mail-order pharmacy and specialty drug business with Prime Therapeutics, which will also distribute medicines through the drugstore chain’s retail pharmacies.
As the nation debates the policy framework that allowed — or even encouraged — drugmaker Mylan to hike the price of life-saving allergy treatment EpiPen multiple times in quick succession, Walgreens and Prime described the tie-up as a direct effort to fight exorbitant health care costs.
The deal aligns the No. 2 drugstore chain with the nation’s fourth-largest pharmacy benefits manager. Prime’s 22 million health plan members will be directed to Walgreens as their preferred pharmacy but will retain access to other pharmacies in their insurance network.
Prime’s pharmacy benefit manager competitors include Express Scripts and CVS Health’s Caremark. Prime processes about 300 million prescriptions annually for a market share of about 6%, Mizuho Securities analyst Ann Hynes estimated in a research note.