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Walgreens Announces Creation of Gene, Cell Services and Specialty Pharmacy Business


Walgreens is expanding its specialty pharmacy services and renaming AllianceRx Walgreens Pharmacy as Walgreens Specialty Pharmacy.

Walgreens announced today that it was creating a new, more comprehensive specialty pharmacy business that will include gene and cell services.

The company, long known for its retail pharmacies, said in a news release that it is opening an 18,000-square-foot center in Pittsburgh to house its cell and gene services.

The company said it was retiring the name AllianceRx Walgreens Pharmacy and the newly dubbed Walgreens Specialty Pharmacy will also include four central specialty dispensing pharmacies, almost 300 community-based specialty pharmacies and more than 1,500 specialty-trained pharmacies.

Rick Gates

Rick Gates

“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, in a news release.

Effective Aug. 1, 2024, AllianceRx Walgreens Pharmacy will become Walgreens Specialty Pharmacy, according to the news release. The company said patients and Walgreens community-based specialty pharmacies now have access to clinicians with key disease state expertise, nutritionists and care nurses. Gates said this will help patients to identify patient assistance that can help with their care.

This is just the latest in series of name and ownership changes for the specialty pharmacy business. In 2017, Walgreens and Prime Therapeutics, a pharmacy benefit manager (PBMs) owned by Blues plans, formed AllianceRx Walgreens Prime. In 2022, when Walgreens became the full owner of the specialty pharmacy business, the name changed to AllianceRx Walgreens Pharmacy.

Additionally, Walgreens owns Shields Health Solutions, a specialty pharmacy that distributes medications to hospitals. Walgreens started investing in Shields in 2019 and fully acquired the business last year, according to the Shields website. The company has seen “consistent growth” through Shields, the news release said.

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