Walgreens makes a deal with Alphabet's Verily
In a push to leverage technology to improve patient outcomes and lower health care costs, Walgreens and a sister company of Google are teaming up to do things like getting patients to stay on their meds and develop devices with sensors that can "help prevent, manage, screen and diagnose disease."
Under a deal announced today, Walgreens Boots Alliance of Deerfield will be the "first-choice retail pharmacy development and commercialization partner" of Verily, the life-sciences unit of Alphabet, the tech holding company based in Mountain View, Calif.
Walgreens and Verily said they'll collaborate on a variety of projects, including a pilot program designed to improve medication adherence through "devices and other approaches." Another project will help Walgreens employees—and their dependents—manage Type 2 diabetes in conjunction with virtual clinic Onduo, Verily's joint venture with drugmaker Sanofi.
"These initiatives are part of a broader strategic alliance designed to combine Verily's health care technology innovation with Walgreens' corner store presence and trusted pharmacy services," said the joint statement.
Walgreens CEO Stefano Pessina has been seeking more partnership opportunities like this one. During an October conference call with analysts, he said partnerships "enable us to quickly align our products, services and people to the needs of the rapidly changing and integrated omnichannel marketplace."
The following month, Walgreens rival CVS Health closed its $70 billion merger with Aetna. That day, Forbes reported from its Healthcare Summit that Pessina said Walgreens and Humana are seeking to collaborate.
Walgreens is also teaming up with LabCorp, one of the world's largest clinical laboratory operators, to open at least 600 blood-draw locations at its stores over the next four years. To bolster non-drug sales, Walgreens is working with grocery giant Kroger on a one-stop shopping program, and with Birchbox, the startup that popularized subscription boxes filled with cosmetics samples, to create 11 mini stores inside select Walgreens locations.
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