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AllianceRx Walgreens Prime, a specialty home-delivery pharmacy owned by Walgreens, will be renamed AllianceRx Walgreens Pharmacy this summer, reflecting Walgreens’ full ownership of the service, which was announced in January.
Joel Wright, CEO of AllianceRx Walgreens Pharmacy, said in a statement that while the name is changing, the service itself should remain largely the same.
He also said additional business changes include the promotion of senior vice president Tracey James to chief operating officer. James, a licensed pharmacist who has been with the organization since inception, will oversee pharmaceutical and payer relationships, clinical and professional services, and Specialty360 therapy teams.
The Specialty360 therapy teams, Wright said, are designed to enable better patient outcomes and lower healthcare costs.
“As the pharmacy industry evolves, the complexity of our patients’ needs has led us to change our business model to support them with therapy-specific teams,” he said.
The members of the Specialty360 therapy team will continue to specialize in different therapies. New, dedicated therapy directors will oversee the delivery of patient care.
Team members, including pharmacists, pharmacy technicians, nurses and dietitians, will be certified for specific diagnoses along with associated therapies. Those diagnoses include behavioral health, bone health, chronic inflammatory disease, endocrine, neurology, nursing and infusion-assisted therapies, oncology, organ/infectious disease, lung and allergy, and reproductive health.
WHAT IS THE IMPACT?
Digital pharmacies and prescription delivery services have been gaining a foothold in the market for a few years now, and some major players are joining the game, perhaps sensing a shift in the way patients buy and manage their medications.
The COVID-19 pandemic, with patients using more virtual services, has helped increase the popularity of such business models.
Ride-sharing service Uber said last year it was expanding prescription delivery in 37 states with ScriptDrop. Health systems, supermarket chains and pharmacy chains are signed up to ScriptDrop, with Uber, integrated via an API, acting as the default application for those selected pharmacies, depending on location and driver availability. ScriptDrop integrates with a pharmacy’s existing software and workflow.
Meanwhile, Amazon gained a foothold in the digital pharmacy space in late 2020 by rolling out Amazon Pharmacy, which enables online ordering and management of prescription drugs along with home delivery.
Two years earlier, Amazon acquired PillPack digital pharmacy for just under $1 billion. PillPack was rolled into the Amazon Pharmacy store, but remains its own service to prepackage multiple daily drugs for its users.
The rise of digital pharmacies is attracting investment dollars. Virtual Pharmacy Medly scored $100 million in Series B funding in 2020, Alto announced a whopping $250 million Series D round, and Capsule scored $200 million in funding in 2019.
THE BIGGER TREND
Walgreens looks at more than just prescription drugs when it comes to home delivery.
The company is looking to expand its on-demand delivery services and will try to do so through a partnership with Shipt, an online marketplace offering home delivery.
Walgreens said in an announcement in February that it would provide access to about 25,000 of its items on Shipt, including over-the-counter medicines, beauty products, personal care, household and convenience products.
In some cases, Walgreens offers same-day delivery, Walgreens said the move is “to bring those hectic dashes of the past to the store.”
The products available on the online platform comprise nearly all of Walgreens’ inventory, and approximately 6,300 locations will be using the service at launch. The chain operates more than 21,000 stores.
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