Centene makes deal to acquire rare disease specialty pharmacy PANTHERx

Centene announced a deal on Tuesday to acquire the specialty pharmacy PANTHERx, which primarily dispenses drugs to treat rare diseases. (Image: Centene)

Centene announced a deal to acquire PANTHERx, the largest specialty pharmacy in the U.S. which specializes in dispensing orphan drugs that treat rare diseases.

The insurer did not disclose the financial terms of the deal that was announced Tuesday. It is the latest move by an insurer to acquire a specialty pharmacy that dispenses high-cost drugs.

“PANTHERx adds a unique capability to our comprehensive pharmacy portfolio,” said Centene Chairman and CEO Michael Neidorff in a statement. “We share a common goal of helping to remove barriers and reduce the burden for our members living with complex and rare diseases.”

PANTHERx will operate as part of Centene’s Envolve Pharmacy Solutions, which includes an integrated pharmacy benefits manager.

“Centene has committed to nurturing our patient-centric culture and focus on quality that is fundamental to PANTHERx's tremendous success,” said Gordon Vanscoy, MD, founder and CEO of PANTHERx, in a statement.

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The specialty pharmacy primarily focuses on offering products to treat rare diseases. PANTHERx also offers a suite of logistical and analytical solutions aimed at streamlining the delivery of orphan drugs, according to a release on the deal.

Centene expects to close the deal by the end of the year.

Centene, a largely government insurer, is the latest payer to acquire a specialty pharmacy to bolster its pharmacy portfolio. Major insurers such as United Healthcare and Humana are among those that have bought up specialty pharmacies in recent years to acquire specialty pharmacies in a bid to exert more control over the dispensing of drugs in order to manage costs.