Walgreens Express
PHARMACY

Walgreens, FedEx partner on next-day Rx delivery nationwide

BY David Salazar

Walgreens and FedEx are teaming up to deliver on convenience for patients. The companies have launched Walgreens Express, a service that will provide next-day delivery nationwide, as well as same-day delivery in select markets.

Patients who are enrolled in Walgreens text alerts will get a text message notification when their qualifying prescriptions are ready. They can then follow a process to choose to have their prescription delivered the next day for a $4.99 fee. To be eligible, prescriptions must be received by 4 p.m. Monday through Friday. Though Walgreens said most prescription orders are available to be delivered by the next business day, it said some prescription benefit plans and insurance plans do not allow home delivery, encouraging patients to talk to a pharmacist with any questions.

“Walgreens is driven by a desire to make health care accessible to all across the thousands of communities we serve,” said Richard Ashworth, Walgreens president of operations. “Next-day prescription home delivery is another convenience-driver, alongside our industry-leading number of extended-hours pharmacies and one of the most downloaded digital apps in the category, designed to put care in the hands of our patients. This expansion of our alliance with FedEx illustrates our commitment to making filling prescriptions as fast and easy as possible.”

Walgreens Express allows patients to preview their cost, prepay for prescriptions that can be delivered and choose between delivery or in-store pickup. If they choose to pick the prescription up in-store, they can use a dedicated Walgreens Express pickup checkout line in the store.

“FedEx and Walgreens are empowering consumers to choose when and where they receive their orders,” said Randy Scarborough, vice president of retail marketing at FedEx Services. “Just as FedEx package pick-up and drop-off services at Walgreens locations provide customers with much-needed convenience, the ability to ship prescription medication directly from Walgreens to their homes offers valuable flexibility to best meet individual needs and schedules.”

Currently, patients in Dallas; Chicago; New York City; Miami; Gainseville, Fla.; Tampa, Fla.; and Fort Lauderdale, Fla., can choose same-day delivery, with Walgreens planning to expand the offering in 2019.

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PHARMACY

TCGRx acquires Parata Systems

BY David Salazar

In a move aimed at cornering a solid share of the pharmacy technology market, TCGRx, a Powers Lake, Wis.-based Frazier Healthcare Partners company, has acquired Parata Systems. Both companies offer medication adherence packaging and high-speed automated robotic dispensing technology.

“TCGRx’s merger with Parata provides a major growth opportunity for both our businesses through extended solution and service offerings for our customers,” said Duane Chudy, founder of TCGRx. “As pharmacies elevate their role in the healthcare ecosystem, we will be best positioned to support them on their journey.”

Together, the companies said they have more than 4,500 packagers, inspection systems and vial-filling robots across retail, long-term care, hospital, government and mail-order pharmacies in North America. As part of their merger, they said their focus would be on growth around central fill, inventory control and automated blister-card packaging solutions.

“Pharmacies are under intense pressure to deliver exceptional service in the most cost-effective manner possible, all while enhancing the patient experience,” said Mark Longley, Parata executive vice president of sales. “The combination of our collective resources will allow us to accelerate the pace of innovation and better meet the rapidly evolving needs of our pharmacy customers.”

The combined company will operate under the Parata Systems brand and be headquartered in Durham, N.C., with additional facilities in Wisconsin. TCGRx CEO Rob Kill will head the organization, with Chudy serving as vice chairman and a leadership team comprised of executives from both companies. D.J. Dougherty, formerly Parata CEO, has decided to pursue other interests.

“We are thrilled that we were able to bring these two outstanding organizations together and look forward to an exciting future for the company,” Kill said. “D.J. and team have done a tremendous job of building a market leader known for innovative technologies supported by an exceptional customer-centric organization. We are grateful to D.J. for his leadership and years of outstanding service to Parata.”

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PHARMACY

CVS Caremark unveils new PBM services pricing

BY David Salazar

As its integration with Aetna gets underway, CVS Health’s pharmacy benefit manager CVS Caremark is introducing a new pricing model aimed at offering better cost predictability. The Guaranteed Net Cost pricing model, CVS Caremark said, is meant to simplify financial arrangements that underlie PBM contracts and focus on such cost-management strategies as formulary, performance pharmacy networks and utilization management.

“We see a real opportunity to offer clients a simpler economic model that leverages proven PBM cost-management strategies to provide predictable drug costs,” said Derica Rice, CVS Caremark president. “As a result, CVS Health is introducing a straightforward, more holistic approach that enables plan sponsors to clearly see the net cost of their pharmacy benefit and select their PBM provider based on that criteria.”

The new model guarantees a client’s average spend per prescription — after rebates and discounts — across retail, mail-order and specialty channels. Additionally, under the model, CVS Caremark said it would pass 100% of rebates to plan sponsors and take responsibility for the impact of drug price inflation and changes in drug mix. The Guaranteed Net Cost model also will allow plan sponsors the option to implement point-of-sale rebates to offer plan members visibility into their medicines’ net cost.

“As a PBM, our job has always been to help our clients manage costs in the face of escalating drug prices without compromising clinical care, so they can continue to provide an affordable benefit to their members,” Rice said. “By simplifying the PBM economic model, we can focus on maximizing the impact of PBM strategies that help reduce costs for clients and consumers, and continue to develop additional innovative tools and approaches.”

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