Centene, Walgreens, RxAdvance form PBM model

Centene, Walgreens and RxAdvance have teamed up to form a pharmacy benefit management model to boost transparency and achieve better health outcomes with lower costs, the companies announced.

Centene is a managed care company with government-sponsored and private health plans, while RxAdvance is a full-service PBM based on the cloud. According to the announcement, the companies will deploy the model, which is targeted to serve the Medicaid population in particular. The model will reportedly provide higher quality care and lower pricing for drugs.

“Centene is committed to supporting a transparent pharmacy benefit management model that is sustainable with higher quality care for members at a lower cost to our customers,” Michael F. Neidorff, chairman, president and CEO of Centene, said in a statement. “This new approach to pharmacy management will improve the transparency and quality of care, while reducing unnecessary medical costs for millions of people.”

Walgreens also mentioned it made a “small investment” in RxAdvance. Centene also upped its stake in the PBM business after investing in March 2018.

“Collaboration between retail pharmacies and payers like Centene can further transform the way we provide care,” Stefano Pessina, executive vice chairman and CEO of Walgreens Boots Alliance, said in a statement. “Using RxAdvance’s Collaborative PBM Cloud, our partnership can empower our pharmacists to make critical decisions at the point of sale to help improve adherence and also to reduce avoidable medical costs.”

The collaboration comes at a time when the PBM industry has faced a handful of challenges over the past few years. PBMs have routinely been referred to as the middlemen of the drug market, negotiating rebates and other discounts between insurers and pharmaceutical companies. The Trump administration also recently proposed doing away with rebates altogether.

Walgreens’ rival CVS Health recently announced a new platform for its PBM clients.