Are you my partner or competitor: AmerisourceBergen-Walgreens deal another big change in drug market

You are my partner. You are my competitor.

The way healthcare and medicine is made and delivered has changed quickly in the last few years and Tuesday's announcement of a collaboration between wholesaler AmerisourceBergen and retail pharmacy giant Walgreens adds another element.

Doctors have sold practices to join hospital companies.

Brand-name drug companies have added generic elements and vice versa.

Retail drug stores have become pharmacy benefit managers.

Hospitals have become insurers.

AmerisourceBergen's headquarters is in Chesterbrook and it employs about 1100 people locally.

The agreement with Walgreens and Alliance Boots GmbH will create a vehicle for all of them to pressure drugmakers to reduce prices if they want those entities to transfer their drugs to patients.

ExpressScripts, which is the biggest pharmacy benefits manager, was AmerisourceBergen's biggest customer and AmerisourceBergen has a collaboration with independent neighborhood pharmacies.

The discussions with all of those groups will be a bit more complex.

AmerisourceBergen's SEC filing on the Walgreens deal is here.

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