PHARMACY

Walgreens secures major contract to provide specialty pharmacy services

BY Jim Frederick

DEERFIELD, Ill. Walgreens Specialty Pharmacy is one of two companies to win a multi-year contract to provide specialty pharmacy services to more than 1.7 million members of Premera, a large health plan based in Mountlake Terrace, Wash., and its affiliated companies.

Walgreens Specialty Pharmacy will provide programs and patient management services to Premera members who use specialty medications for chronic and complex health conditions including cancer, hepatitis, multiple sclerosis, psoriasis and rheumatoid arthritis. The subsidiary of Walgreens—which the chain now describes as the largest independent provider of specialty pharmacy services and fourth-largest specialty pharmacy in the country—will provide Premera with medication fulfillment, patient education and clinical support services. Its pharmacists and nurses also will counsel patients on the importance of medication compliance and side-effect management.

Premera companies provide health insurance and related services to members in Washington, Alaska, Oregon and Arizona. Walgreens said it will service those plan members from the Walgreens Specialty Pharmacy facility in Beaverton, Ore.

Michael Nameth, executive vice president of Walgreens Health Services, said a major factor in winning the Premera contract was “our ability to provide integrated specialty pharmacy services for Premera’s membership through our specialty pharmacy facility or at our 6,400 Walgreens retail pharmacies, and provide infusion services at our local home care branches.”

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The FDA will not be able to make an approvability decision until March 23 for the drug, a treatment for Type 2 diabetes. Novo Nordisk had submitted an approval application for the drug on May 23.

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