Walgreens acquires BioScrip’s community specialty-pharmacies

Buyout expands Walgreens specialty-pharmacy patient base by 500,000

Even while Walgreens, the biggest chain pharmacy by number of stores, is duking out dispensing-reimbursement issues with the PBM Express Scripts (which is in the process of acquiring Medco, one of the other leading PBMs), it continues to build its specialty-pharmacy foundation. The latest is the acquisition of BioScrips (Elmsford, NY) which has a national network of specialty pharmacies at 30 locations, a home-infusion practice and a central fill facility, mostly for HIV, oncology and transplant patients. Bioscrips has also provided prescription dispensing services for Drugstore.com, which Walgreens acquired in June 2011. Purchase prices was $285 million (including future performance incentives). The pharmacy locations, home health and infusion services will continue as Bioscrips entities.

“Together, BioScrip's clinically focused community specialty pharmacies and access to additional limited distribution drug therapies, and Walgreens existing nationwide network of retail and health system pharmacies create a strong network of support for our core drugstore business to provide specialty pharmacy solutions to our patients,” said Walgreens President and CEO Greg Wasson. “Many of our patients will benefit from expanded access to new and limited distribution drugs for chronic conditions such as HIV, cancer and organ transplant. This acquisition also significantly expands our nationwide reach to an additional half-million patients with chronic and complex health conditions who have strong clinical relationships with their current BioScrip pharmacy.”

Retail pharmacies in general, and Walgreens in particular, are striving to move their business model more into a component of overall healthcare, especially for chronically ill—which is something that many pharma companies are eyeing as well.