30 Mar 2013 , Chemist & Druggist
A transatlantic challenge
After their merger last year, Boots and US giant Walgreens are looking to share ideas that will have ramifications across the entire UK pharmacy sector. Written by Emma Weinbren
“It’s nine months since Alliance Boots’ landmark deal with US pharmacy chain Walgreens, and neither company can be accused of dragging its heels.
At the time, the two pharmacy giants set out plans to create savings of up to £95 million between them as part of their vision to become a “global healthcare leader”.
Stefano Pessina, executive chairman of Alliance Boots, vigorously refuted fears that the US company would simply take over the Boots brand. “Why would I do a deal that killed Boots?” he asked critics.
So far, it appears both players have kept their word. Speaking to C+D at the European Pharmacists Forum in Paris earlier this month, chief executive of Alliance Boots’ wholesale division Ornella Barra stresses that the projected cost savings have been the partnership’s initial priority. And Kermit Crawford, president of pharmacy, health and wellness at Walgreens, seems eager to learn from Boots rather than simply imposing the Walgreens model on the UK.”
“We’re transforming our format,” he enthuses. “When you see the Boots format – the expertise in beauty – that’s expertise we don’t have… we’re bringing that to our front end.”
With Walgreens poised to buy out the remaining 55 per cent of Alliance Boots in two years’ time, this shared learning is likely to continue. So what could the merger mean for Boots, its pharmacists and pharmacy teams?