Walgreens Debuts Specialty Pharma Business


The move features the launch of an innovation center revolving around cell and gene services.

Image Credit: Walgreens

Image Credit: Walgreens

In an effort to further improve patient outcomes while also offering additional value to both payers and partners, Walgreens is launching Walgreens Specialty Pharmacy, a holistic service that aims to expand access to care for patients who have complex, chronic conditions.1 As a result, AllianceRx Walgreens Pharmacy will now become fully integrated, becoming part of Walgreens Specialty Pharmacy by Aug. 1.

Additionally, the company will be making financial commitments in cell and gene therapy services.

  1. An 18,000 square-foot gene and cell services pharmacy and innovation center in Pittsburgh, PA: It will offer capabilities for emerging therapies, featuring not only clinical and social needs management, but solutions for tackling supply chain complexities, financing, and logistics and financing.
  2. Four central specialty pharmacies: Each of these pharmacies holds numerous national pharmacy accreditations. They also hold distinctions in oncology and rare/orphan conditions, while providing both patients and caregivers with clinical services that can improve engagement, adherence, and outcomes.
  3. A current list of 240 limited distribution drugs: This includes 40 narrow networks and 12 exclusive limited distribution drugs.

Walgreens will also be employing more than 5,000 patient advocacy support team members and 1,500 specialty-trained pharmacists. Company officials noted that Walgreens Specialty Pharmacy is “focused on breaking through healthcare system silos, bringing convenient access to hard-to-find medications and critical adherence support. Building upon the deep, trusted relationships Walgreens pharmacists have with providers and communities, the model enables more comprehensive care to ultimately help payers better manage specialty costs.”

Due to the rise of chronic disease, specialty meds currently comprise 50% of prescription drug spend in the United States,2 creating a need for disease management solutions that are to be treated by specialty drugs. With its ability to assist in providing patient access to specialized treatments via a new integrated care model, that is where Walgreens Specialty Pharmacy comes in.

“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.”


1. Walgreens Launches Gene and Cell Services as Part of Newly Integrated Walgreens Specialty Pharmacy Business. Walgreens Boot Alliance. April 25, 2024. Accessed April 26, 2024. https://www.walgreensbootsalliance.com/news-media/press-releases/2024/walgreens-gene-and-cell-services-specialty-pharmacy

2. Global Use of Medicines 2023: Outlook to 2027. IQVIA. January 18, 2023. Accessed April 26, 2024. https://www.iqvia.com/insights/the-iqvia-institute/reports-and-publications/reports/the-global-use-of-medicines-2023

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