by Kazeem Olalekan MRPharmS

The recent acquisition of 45% stake in Boots the Chemist by US Firm, Walgreen could be viewed as another good example of the special relationship between the US and the UK. It has been reported that the two companies have very little overlap. As a result, no job losses are expected from the deal. That is reassuring. It has been suggested in some quarters, that this is just the first salvo in the eventual take over of Boots by Walgreen.

This will not be unusual in this marketplace. After all Lloyds Pharmacy is owned by the giant German healthcare and pharmaceutical company Celesio. Tesco, Sainsburys, Asda and Cooperative Pharmacies are owned by there corresponding supermarkets. There are of course a variety of independent pharmacy operators in the UK.

In one word, welcomes this development. In effect, it starts a process of moving a valuable UK business into the hand of a retail pharmacy operator. This contrasts sharply with the business being in the hand of a private equity operator KKR with a risk (sometimes over blown) of asset stripping. It clearly signals a move to really set the business on a solid path for the future. Boots, held by a private equity operator can only be viewed as an interim arrangement.

There is another reason why I feel this is a good move. It leads to better understanding of the UK and US healthcare markets which can only cement our special relationship. This, I hope, is a start of a process to make sure we look fundamentally at what is best about the two healthcare systems in order that we may learn lessons which will benefit my patients.



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