UnitedHealth buys Genoa Healthcare, adding more than 400 pharmacies to its PBM

With new competitors closing in, UnitedHealth is bolstering its defenses by purchasing Genoa Healthcare, the fifth-largest pharmacy chain in the country with 435 locations.

Genoa—which also offers telepsychiatry services and medication management for behavioral health patients—will be absorbed by UnitedHealth’s pharmacy benefit manager OptumRx. According to its website, Genoa fills more than 15 million prescriptions each year and serves more than 650,000 customers.

“To help better support the pharmacy needs of patients with behavioral health and substance use disorders, OptumRx is combining with Genoa Healthcare,” Optum spokesperson Drew Krejci said in a statement to FierceHealthcare. “This will help ensure improved access, health outcomes and pharmacy, telepsychiatry, and medication management experiences for consumers across the country, including Medicare and Medicaid beneficiaries, while helping public and private sector payers reduce their healthcare costs.”

The Renton, Washington-based company was previously owned by the private equity firm Advent International.

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The deal was first reported by Bloomberg, which pegged the value of the deal at $2.5 billion. Krejci declined to specify the purchase price, adding that “the terms of the deal were not disclosed.” Earlier reports said Walgreens was also interested in purchasing the pharmacy company.

The acquisition comes as several large mergers are being finalized that would become viable competitors to UnitedHealth. Earlier this month, antitrust regulators approved Cigna’s acquisition of Express Scripts that would give the insurer control over one of the country’s largest PBMs. And earlier this week, Aetna sold off its Part D plans to WellCare in a move to appease regulators.