Walgreens, Verily to work on projects to improve health outcomes

One of the nation’s largest drug store chains is staking a position in healthcare through an alliance with a tech company’s life sciences arm.

Walgreens Boots Alliance is collaborating with Verily, an Alphabet company, on several projects under a broad agreement aimed at improving health outcomes for patients with chronic conditions.

The move is yet another step by a national pharmacy chain to find a role in healthcare delivery and also provides an entry point for Alphabet, which is looking for ways to apply its artificial intelligence prowess to healthcare.

Under the agreement, Walgreens will be a “first-choice” retail pharmacy development and commercialization partner to Verily, and the organizations have agreed to work on and explore ways to improve access to advanced healthcare technologies and solutions.

Some of the technology expected to be deployed include sensors and software that can be used to help prevent, manage, screen and diagnose disease. The companies have a shared goal of scaling deployment at Walgreens retail locations.

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A customer enters a Walgreen Co. store in Chicago, Illinois, U.S., on Friday, March 23, 2012. Walgreen Co. is scheduled to release earnings data on March 27. Photographer: Daniel Acker/Bloomberg

The companies plan to begin work on a medication adherence project that will deploy devices and other approaches designed to improve patient compliance with prescription orders.

In another initiative, Walgreens will work with Onduo, Verily’s joint venture with Sanofi, a pharmaceutical company, to launch a virtual diabetes solution to Walgreens employees and family members with Type 2 diabetes through the Walgreens employee health plan.

Walgreens executives say the initiatives are part of a broader strategic alliance designed to combine Verily’s healthcare technology innovation with Walgreens retail store presence and trusted pharmacy services.

“We’re focused on finding innovative ways to deliver better patient care at lower costs, and working with the right healthcare partners to help bring new services and solutions to our patients and customers,” says Stefano Pessina, chief executive officer of Walgreens Boots Alliance. “Working with Verily, we’ll look at how we can best support integrated and value-based care to meet our patients’ needs, as well as opportunities to address other chronic conditions over time.”

“We are well aligned with Walgreens on the need to develop and bring to market solutions that help people better engage with their health and manage their chronic conditions. This relationship affords us the opportunity to jointly tackle real-world issues that significantly impact the health of individuals and communities,” adds Andrew Conrad, chief executive officer of Verily.

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