Walgreens Partners With UnitedHealth's PBM Business

The partnership between is expected to improve access and help overcome gaps in care for consumers.

CVS did it with Caremark, Rite Aid did it with Envision, and now it’s Walgreens’ turn. The partnership between Walgreens Boots Alliance and OptumRx (the pharmacy benefit management wing of UnitedHealth) is expected to improve access to drugs for consumers.

According to an announcement by the UnitedHealth group, the integration will allow:

  • Eligible OptumRx members the option to fill 90-day prescriptions at home delivery copay levels at any Walgreens pharmacy or through OptumRx home delivery.
  • Give patients the choice of how to receive their medications along with 24/7 pharmacist availability.
  • OptumRx and Walgreens systems to better connect and communicate health data and analytics to ensure members receive the most effective prescription drugs at the right cost.

“We are excited to be working with Walgreens to create a new pharmacy solution that provides convenience and cost savings, and goes beyond filling prescriptions to deliver a more valuable pharmacy and health management experience for consumers,” said Larry Renfro, chief executive officer of Optum, in a statement.

Analysts predict that this partnership will help boost drug sales for Walgreens. However, some members with drug coverage from Optum might end up having to fill-in their prescriptions only at a Walgreens pharmacy, depending on the contract signed by their employers or drug benefits plan.

Both Walgreens and OptumRx expect that this partnership would have a significant impact on patient adherence and closing the gaps in care. “The deal will give pharmacists more access to information that will help them counsel patients who are on multiple drugs, aren’t getting refills, or taking pills that shouldn’t be taken together,” said Mark Thierer, chief executive officer of OptumRx.

The integrated pharmacy care will be available to commercial clients at the beginning of 2017.