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Another Specialty Pharmacy Bites the Dust

Did you hear it too?

We are talking about hearing the melody to the old Queen song….. Anther One Bites the Dust!

The one biting the dust is Kroger Supermarkets. 

As numerous specialty pharmacies before them, Kroger just announced that they are spinning off their specialty pharmacy division as it no longer fits their strategic plans.

Should this sale be a surprise to anyone? No.

If you have an asset that is not delivering a satisfying ROI then it may be high time to sell. Also, given the Byzantine nature of drug access and purchasing, it requires larger and larger volumes to get the best acquisition prices and access to limited drugs, payer contracts, etc. Kroger has just not been able to break into the SP fast lane.

What is more interesting is the buyer in this deal….. Elevance Health.

Now pay attention…. this is complicated

  • Elevance is the fancy new branding of the former Anthem.
  • In mid-2022 Elevance Health launched new brands for two of its subsidiaries under one umbrella, called Carelon. 
  • Carelon includes the Elevance (Anthem’s) in-house pharmacy benefit manager Ingenio Rx now under CarelonRx
  • And…. Beacon Health Options, a behavioral health provider
  • And myNEXUS, a home healthcare company. 
  • And… Paragon Healthcare which operates more than 40 ambulatory and home infusion centers in eight states 
  • And….the acquisition of BioPlus specialty pharmacy in 2023…… which closes the loop on understanding the Elevance Health’s CarelonRx’s acquisition of the Kroger specialty pharmacy business.

That’s a very busy acquisition schedule! 

The company says that Carelon now serves 1 in 3 people in the U.S. in one way or another.

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Kroger to sell specialty pharmacy business to Elevance Health’s CarelonRx

March 18, 2024 

(Reuters) – Grocer Kroger said on Monday it had entered a definitive agreement for the sale of its specialty pharmacy business to CarelonRx, a unit of U.S. health insurer Elevance Health.

The financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.

The retailer’s specialty pharmacy business serves patients with chronic illnesses that require complex care.

Kroger Specialty Pharmacy is separate from other Kroger Family of Pharmacies, including in-store retail pharmacies and The Little Clinics, which are not included in the deal.

The deal, subject to customary closing conditions and regulatory approvals, is expected to close in the second half of 2024. It is not expected to impact Kroger’s 2024 fiscal forecasts.

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