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Walgreens, LabCorp to open at least 600 in-store patient service centers

BY DSN STAFF

Walgreens and LabCorp are expanding their partnership in a big way. The two companies said Wednesday they would be opening at least 600 LabCorp patient service centers inside Walgreens U.S. locations in the next four years. The total number of centers would include the 17 that the two have opened since they announced the partnership in June 2017.

The existing LabCorp at Walgreens centers are open in Florida, Colorado, North Carolina and Deerfield, Ill., offering specimen collection services for LabCorp testing at sites located near the in-store pharmacy. The offer specimen collection for a range of testing that is performed at LabCorp’s regional and specialty laboratories. They allow for check-in on various websites, as well as onsite proprietary LabCorp|Express tablet-based check-in.

“LabCorp’s strong partnership on this joint initiative, coupled with the enthusiastic consumer feedback we’ve received, allows us to undertake an exciting expansion of our collaboration together,” said Stefano Pessina, executive vice chairman and CEO of Walgreens Boots Alliance. “This reflects our commitment to transform our stores into neighborhood health destinations that provide a differentiated, consumer-focused experience, while providing access to a broad range of affordable health care services at a trusted and convenient setting.”

The companies also are pursuing other collaboration opportunities that will leverage LabCorp’s combination of diagnostics and drug development expertise and Walgreens’ role in pharmacy, retail health and consumer engagement. Among the efforts being explored are new approaches to clinical research, helping drive patient engagement in their health, enabling value-based care and expanding the services available at the LabCorp at Walgreens sites, the companies said.

“We chose a partner with shared values and a shared vision of creating a differentiated consumer-focused experience, which has led to an extremely successful collaboration,” LabCorp chairman and CEO David King said. “LabCorp at Walgreens is a central piece of our expanding consumer strategy, as we continue to create new channels for our offering by meeting consumers where they want to be met, extending the reach of our mission to improve health and improve lives.”

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WBA’s full-year results bring double-digit earnings growth

BY David Salazar

Walgreens Boots Alliance on Thursday shared its full-year sales results for its fiscal 2018. The company reported a sales increase of 11.3% for fiscal year 2018, bringing its revenue to $131.5 billion, with adjusted earnings per share growing 18% to $6.02. For the fourth quarter, the company’s sales were $33.4 billion, with adjusted earnings per share of $1.48. The company’s adjusted net earnings for the full-year rose 23.2% to $5 billion.

“We are pleased to have delivered double-digit percentage growth in earnings per share while returning $6.8 billion to shareholders through share repurchases and dividends in fiscal 2018,” WBA executive vice chairman and CEO Stefano Pessina said. “The integration of the acquired Rite Aid stores is on track, and our pharmacy market share in the United States increased year-over-year on an annual basis. We are making progress on our partnership strategy both in the U.S. and internationally, including our most recent announcements with LabCorp, Kroger and Alibaba, which will provide additional opportunities for future growth.”

WBA’s U.S. retail pharmacy segment saw $25.5 billion in fourth-quarter sales — a year-over-year increase of 14.4%, with comparable-store sales up 0.3% from the previous year’s fourth quarter. In the quarter, pharmacy sales — which make up 73.6% of the segment’s sales — grew 16.7%, which the company attributed to script growth from the acquisition Rite Aid stores and central specialty. Pharmacy comps increased 1.3%, which the company said indicated higher volume. Indeed, the segment filled 279.8 million prescriptions (including immunizations) adjusted to 30-day equivalents in the quarter — an 11.8% year-over-year increase. Comparable-store fills increased 1.3%, which WBA said was due to strategic partnerships offset in part by Medicare Part D. For the full year, the segment filled more than 1 billion prescriptions on a 30-day equivalent basis.

Citing data from IQVIA, WBA said that In the fourth quarter, the segment’s adjusted retail prescription market share increased by roughly 180 basis points to 22.3%. For the full year, that figure was 21.7%, compared with 20.2% in fiscal 2017. Rite Aid store additions drove quarterly retail sales growth of 8.3%, though retail comps were down 1.9%, which WBA said was due to decline in consumables and general merchandise, as well as personal care. These declines were partially offset by beauty and health-and-wellness growth.

WBA’s retail pharmacy international segment saw quarterly sales decline 1.9% to $2.9 billion, with comparable pharmacy sales down 3.4% on a constant currency basis. The company attributed that decline to lower prescription volume and a decline in pharmacy funding in the United Kingdom. Comps were down 0.9% on a constant currency basis, which WBA said was due to a decline in Boots UK beauty sales amid market challenges, offset by health-and-wellness sales growth. Excluding the U.K., WBA’s comps increased 1.1%, driven in part by growth in the Republic of Ireland and Thailand.

The company’s pharmaceutical wholesale business saw sales growth of 2.3%, hitting $5.6 billion. Comparable sales increased 4.7% on a constant currency basis which WBA said was due to strong growth in emerging markets. The division’s operating income was $163 million, which included a $49 increase from the company’s equity earnings in AmerisourceBergen. In the previous year’s fourth quarter, the division had operating income of $96 million, which included an $8 million loss from its equity earnings in AmerisourceBergen.

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Walgreens marks American Pharmacists Month

BY David Salazar

As part of American Pharmacists Month, Walgreens announced that it recently recognized its pharmacists for their role in patient care in the United States and Puerto Rico.

“As a pharmacist, I’ve seen first-hand how the role has evolved beyond filling prescriptions – and why it’s more worthy than ever of our gratitude and respect,” said Richard Ashworth, Walgreens president of operations. “Our pharmacists deliver a variety of healthcare services and are relied upon to provide trusted advice and support. For millions of Americans, their Walgreens pharmacist is an essential partner in ensuring their health and quality of life – and we thank them for rising to that everyday challenge.”

Walgreens said that it has introduced adherence tools for pharmacists to improve their personalized patient support, including the Patient Care Portal. The tool prioritizes patients who have fallen behind on their medication schedule, enabling a personalized approach to patient support that can help overcome barriers to adherence.

The company said it also would be recognizing its pharmacy technicians on Oct. 16, which is National Pharmacy Technician Day, as well as its Healthcare Clinic nurse practitioners and physician assistants during National Physician Assistant Week and National Nurse Practitioner Week, which take place Oct. 6 to 12 and Nov. 11 to 17, respectively.

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