Walgreens’ Purchase of Remaining Shields Stake Signals Threat to Independent Specialty Pharmacy Landscape

After increasing its share in Shields Health Solutions last year, Walgreens Boots Alliance, Inc. has entered into an agreement to purchase the remaining stake of the health system-owned specialty pharmacy integrator. The move, says one industry expert, may represent one more step in putting independent specialty pharmacies out of business.

After making incremental investments in Shields, Walgreens said on Sept. 20 that it would purchase the remaining 30% stake for approximately $1.37 billion. Shields — which partners with health systems to help them create and grow a hospital-owned specialty pharmacy program — has served more than 1 million people and has almost 80 health system partners that represent nearly 1,000 hospitals across the U.S. Shields will operate as a separate business and brand within Walgreens.

Angela Maas

Angela Maas

Angela has an extensive background of editing, reporting and writing for trade and consumer publications. She has written Radar on Specialty Pharmacy (formerly called Specialty Pharmacy News) since she joined AIS Health in 2005 and has broad knowledge of the various issues at play within the space. Before joining AIS Health, she was managing editor at Employee Benefit News and Employee Benefit News Canada and managing editor at HemAware (a hemophilia publication), Lupus Living and Momentum (a multiple sclerosis publication). She has a B.A. in English and an M.A. in British literature from Arizona State University.

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