Walgreens and Verily announce partnerships for diabetes, medication adherence

Walgreens Boots Alliance and Verily, Alphabet Inc.’s life sciences research arm, announced multiple plans on Wednesday to help patients with chronic conditions.

One project uses “devices and other approaches” to improve medication adherence, and the other “provides tools, coaching and remote access to specialty doctors to help people with diabetes to manage their condition anytime, anywhere,” according to a press release.

The diabetes solution, Onduo, will target Walgreens employees and family members through the company’s employee health plan.  

On Thursday, the company reported a nearly 10% increase in sales in the first quarter of fiscal year 2019, which ended on Nov. 30, as well as a 45.7% jump in earnings per share.

This performance will allow the company to grow and transform its business, including through new partnerships, said Stefano Pessina, executive vice chairman and CEO of Walgreens Boots Alliance, highlighting the new initiative with Verily as well as its existing collaborations with Kroger, FedEx, and Humana.

RELATED: Walgreens partnership would give Humana more leverage in shifting market

In addition, Walgreens plans to bring lab testing services to at least 600 of its stores over the next four years by teaming up with LabCorp.

Verily CEO Andrew Conrad said his company, like Walgreens, sees the need to develop better solutions for patients with chronic conditions.

“This relationship affords us the opportunity to jointly tackle real-world issues that significantly impact the health of individuals and communities,” he said, noting that medication adherence is “one of the most significant and costly barriers to improving patient outcomes.”

The companies seek to help patients through long-term, lasting solutions, and they aim to work within the context of integrated and value-based care, Pessina said.

Partnerships like these could be Walgreens’ way of keeping up with fellow pharmacy companies CVS and Express Scripts amid their mergers with Aetna and Cigna, respectively. Cigna closed its $67 billion acquisition of Express Scripts on Thursday, and the CVS-Aetna deal is inching forward in federal court.

Walgreens has also reportedly been in discussions with Humana for the companies to take equity stakes in one another, a move that would give the insurer more leverage in a shifting market.