Walgreens eyes more efficient health care

Walgreens recognizes the importance of pharmacy and is striving to make it more efficient. Alex Gourlay, co-chief operating officer of Walgreens Boots Alliance Inc., says one indication of inefficiency is demonstrated by the great number of prescriptions that need additional authorization on the way through a pharmacy, as well as the number of...

Walgreens recognizes the importance of pharmacy and is striving to make it more efficient. Alex Gourlay, co-chief operating officer of Walgreens Boots Alliance Inc., says one indication of inefficiency is demonstrated by the great number of prescriptions that need additional authorization on the way through a pharmacy, as well as the number of filled prescriptions returned to the shelves because they are not picked up by the patient. To address this, the company has developed efficiency-focused partnerships, including working with PBM Prime Therapeutics on both specialty and mail-order pharmacy. Gourlay says the top value drivers in specialty pharmacy are manufacturers and pharmacists, and as biopharmaceutical development advances, there will undoubtedly be more requests for pharmacy to be involved. In addition, with manufacturers aiming to reinvest in more innovation without raising drug prices excessively, "they want to make the supply chain as efficient as possible." All of these aspects will increase the prominence in health care of community pharmacy, says Gourlay. Drug makers especially understand the value that pharmacy brings in the form of access to maintenance drugs, and recognize pharmacy can help get drugs "to the right people in a personalized way," he says.