Rite Aid said it will pay $95 million to buy Bartell Drugs, a family-owned Seattle-based pharmacy chain of 67 drugstores.
USA- “For more than a century, Bartell’s has been an integral part of the fabric of Seattle and neighboring communities serving families with pharmacy services while promoting the health and well-being of local communities,” Heyward Donigan, president and chief executive officer, Rite Aid said in a statement Wednesday announcing the acquisition.
Bartell Drugs Founded in 1890, and generates more than $550 million in annual revenue and fills about 5.5 million prescriptions each year from its 67 stores in Seattle and area stores in the Washington state’s King, Snohomish and Pierce counties. Rite Aid has more than 2,400 retail pharmacy locations across 18 states including the Pacific Northwest.
The deal to buy a regional drugstore chain fits Rite Aid’s effort to compete for mid-market businesses and employers looking to buy pharmacy and healthcare services as well as drug benefits through its pharmacy benefit management company, elixir. Rite Aid, which will keep the Bartell Drugs name on the stores it is buying, has said the mid-market niche allows it to compete more effectively rather than go head-to-head on a national scale with CVS Health, Walgreens Boots Alliance and Walmart pharmacies.
The future of Rite Aid’s elixir comes as rival PBMs are getting bigger and competition is fierce. In December, Cigna’s Express Scripts PBM and Prime Therapeutics, a PBM owned by 18 Blue Cross Blue Shield companies, announced a three-year collaboration. Meanwhile, Anthem is rolling out its own PBM, IngenioRx and the nation’s largest health insurer, UnitedHealth Group, owns OptumRx. CVS Health, which owns the Caremark PBM, also has more clout after it bought the health insurer Aetna in late 2018.