In recent weeks two leading specialty pharmacies announced their plans to strategically expand their footprint in the specialty pharmacy ambulatory infusion space. Curiously, that falls on the heels of Walgreens’ divestiture of Option Care which, only a year ago, was the largest infusion provider in the US. That move may have been heavily influenced by Walgreens’ desire to pay down debt, continue support of the company’s strategic priorities, and further drive forward its transformation to a consumer-centric healthcare company.
The two providers of which we speak are Soleo Health and Hy-Vee Health. One may ask if they saw Walgreens’ exit as an wiggle room to further grow their positions in the ambulatory infusion segment.
Soleo Health announced that it is opening an ambulatory center in Cincinnati offering a full range of specialty infusion therapies as well as pharmacy dispensing services. More recently, Soleo announced the opening of a Boise, Idaho, pharmacy and infusion center location. The new facilities add to Soleo’s 23 pharmacy locations nationally as well as more than 40 infusion centers throughout the U.S.
Hy-Vee announced the opening of its first Hy-Vee Health infusion clinic in West Des Moines, Iowa. The freestanding clinic is staffed by licensed physicians and nurses. Aaron Wiese, president of Hy-Vee, Inc., said “Our vision for Hy-Vee Health is to provide convenient, cost-effective health solutions for patients across the United States.” Even more recently Hy-Vee announced the opening of a new clinic in Chicago.
If one looks at the number of ultra-high-cost infused therapies approved in the past few years one can make a strong case for ambulatory specialty infusion….. especially if it is a lower cost site of service vs. hospital outpatient facilities….. something that payers are getting more bullish about.