PHARMACY

Walgreens, Alliance Boots provide analysts color on global pharmacy opportunity

BY Michael Johnsen

LONDON — Walgreens and Alliance Boots will generate $130 billion or more in combined sales, Greg Wasson, Walgreens president and CEO, told analysts Wednesday. Walgreens and Alliance Boots offered analysts a firsthand look at the Alliance Boots operation here, beginning with a store tour and then leading into presentations. 

"Together, our goal is by 2016 combined sales of $130 billion or greater," Wasson told analysts. "And adjusted operating income of $8.5 billion to $9 billion. We’ll deliver $1 billion or more in combined synergies. And [we have an] operating cash flow goal of $8 billion or more." 

Operating across 25 countries, Alliance Boots provides Walgreens entry into several pharmacy growth markets across Europe and Asia. The global pharmacy picture is fast materializing behind the need to temper healthcare spending across several highly-fragmented markets in terms of retail pharmacy outlets. "The nature of the health sector is changing across the world and being the first global pharmacy [and] well-being enterprises is the best possible place we could be," Stefano Pessina, Alliance Boots executive chairman, told analysts.  

For the Walgreens/Alliance Boots deal, it’s the combination of a significant wholesale business with a retail pharmacy operation heritage. 

"This time last year I wouldn’t have been too surprised if some of you didn’t know much about Alliance Boots," Pessina, one of the architects behind the Walgreens/Alliance Boots deal, told analysts. "Even when we were in the top third of the Fortune 100 we were not very well known," he said. Alliance Boots is presently extending its presence into emerging markets like China, Turkey, Thailand and the Middle East. 

"If we look at what this means for the future, it is that our group strategy will continue to focus on our two core businesses of retailing and wholesaling while increasing and developing internationalized brands to create a third growth dimension," Pessina said. 

The first brand extending into several global markets is Alliance Boots’ No7 beauty brand. No7 is presently available in 18 countries. In December, the full Boots No7 department made its first appearance in the United States, at Walgreens’ new flagship store in Los Angeles.

Beyond wholesale and established, global brands, Alliance Boots is a fully integrated multi-format, multi-channel insight and customer led brand, commented Alex Gourlay, Alliance Boots chief executive Health and Beauty Division, "Inspiring our customers to feel good, through the unique products services and care we offer. … Over 160 years we have been at the heart of local communities making healthcare and beauty products accessible to people wherever and whenever they need them for generations."

Like Walgreens, Alliance Boots is linking its brand identity to omnichannel retailing — delivering a seamless offer to the consumer whenever and wherever they choose to engage the brand. 

"Our international health and beauty division today has pharmacists, retail stores and joint ventures in 11 countries with over 3,300 stores," Gourlay said. "Further, Boots products are sold in over 20 countries, through retail stores, franchise partners and via third-party distribution. Here in Europe we are the clear market leader in pharmacy and we’re driving further growth through our health and beauty stores in Asia — in Thailand, in particular," Gourlay added.


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PHARMACY

Teva appoints UCLA urologic oncology professor to board

BY Alaric DeArment

JERUSALEM — Teva Pharmaceutical Industries has added a University of California at Los Angeles medical professor to its board of directors, the Israeli drug maker said.

Teva announced the appointment of Arie Belldegrun, who is a director at the UCLA Institute of Urology Oncology and professor and chair of urologic oncology at the David Geffen School of Medicine. The company appointed Belldegrun at its Feb. 5 meeting to fill a vacancy, and Belldegrun’s term will extend the drug maker’s 2013 annual shareholder meeting.

"We are pleased to welcome Dr. Belldegrun to our board," Teva chairman Phillip Frost said. "Arie’s extensive experience in the pharmaceutical industry both as a doctor, a business leader and an academic will enable him to make significant contributions to the board immediately and help guide us as well look for new and innovative ways to bring medicines to patients around the world and continue to increase value for our shareholders."


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Post-approval drug problems could be due to poor adherence in trials, study finds

BY Alaric DeArment

MCLEAN, Va. — Unexpected toxicities from prescription drugs that emerge years after regulatory approval may be due to poor medication adherence in clinical trials, according to a new study.

While much attention on medication adherence has focused on patients not taking the already approved drugs prescribed to them or not taking them properly, the new study, released Tuesday by Consumer Health Information, found problems with adherence in clinical trials as well.

"Patient adherence in clinical trials must always be higher than that of the general population," Consumer Health Information president and CEO Dorothy Smith said. "Our challenge is to get patient adherence in clinical trials up to 95% so patients can be assured it is safe to take the FDA-approved dose."

According to the study, which looked at data from over the past 20 years, patient adherence wasn’t monitored between 1997 and 1999 in 53% of clinical trials of drugs that are still on the market today. Meanwhile, up to 30% of study patents did not take the full dosage, and patients could not understand 35% to 94% of informed consent documents. At least half of patients didn’t tell the study team that they had missed doses, and many did not realize that missing doses could endanger the lives of millions of people after a drug’s approval because undetected poor adherence could result in inaccurate dosing.

Smith recommended that clinical trial investigators develop adherence strategies and integrate behavior modification; determine how many doses of each drug can be missed without jeopardizing the therapeutic outcome; include patient adherence results as an outcome of the clinical trial and publish it in the package insert; create informed consent and patient-friendly programs that patients will understand; and gain patient trust so they provide honest feedback about any problems they have.

Unexpected toxicities have resulted in the FDA cutting drug dosages and withdrawing approval for others, but may be occurring because patients in the general population are more adherent than those in the clinical trials.


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