UnitedHealth acquires pharmaceutical company Genoa Healthcare for $2.5bn
From developing long term partnerships with medtech companies, to placing increased emphasis on delivering higher quality health services and insurance products, UnitedHealth is continuing to look at ways to provide further support to US citizens.
The company has recently acquired pharmacy, outpatient psychiatry and medical management business, Genoa Healthcare for approximately $2.5bn, Bloomberg has reported. The company will be absorbed into its existing pharmacy benefit arm, OptumRx.
Acquiring the business from private equity company, Advent International, the insurer is increasingly exploring new markets in the face of growing competition from new and traditional players a technological revolution and transforming healthcare regulations.
The fifth largest drug chain in the US, the acquisition will UnitedHealth absorb over 425 pharmacies under Genoa’s umbrella, spanning 46 states, 435 locations and serving over 650,000 US citizens. Providing support to those with behavioural health needs, the business is bolstered by a range of medical professionals who will continue to offer exceptional, bespoke services.
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“To help better support the pharmacy needs of patients with behavioural health and substance use disorders, OptumRx is combining with Genoa Healthcare,” a spokesperson for OptumRx has stated.
“This will help ensure improved access, health outcomes and pharmacy, telepsychiatry, and medication management experiences for consumers across the country, including Medicare and Medicaid beneficiaries, while helping public and private sector payers reduce their health care costs.”
According to its website, Genoa consumers are commonly covered by Medicaid or Medicare, and often struggle to hold down a job and maintain stable housing and reliable transportation. This has led to increase complexities within medication management.
The acquisition will therefore enable UnitedHealth to diversify its portfolio and drive further quality across its operations as it continues to support local communities.
Advances in health "must ensure self-sovereign identity"
The UK government has announced that from September onwards COVID-19 vaccine passports will be necessary to gain entry into places with large crowds, such as nightclubs.
This has reignited the debate between those who believe having proof of vaccinations will enable people to gather in public places and travel safely, and those who view the digital certificates as an attack on personal freedom.
The arguments have increased in intensity since the recent announcement to drop COVID-19 restrictions in England, in a move to reopen the economy that has attracted fierce criticism both domestically and overseas.
Cross-party ministers are set to defy the government’s latest plans to introduce vaccine passports over civil liberties concerns. A number of MPs have already signed the Big Brother Watch declaration against “Covid status certification to deny individuals access to general services, businesses or jobs” in recent months.
However Mark Shaw, CEO of Tento Applied Sciences, says the Big Brother Watch campaign is based on false assumptions. “Big Brother Watch puts forward a compelling argument based around civil liberties, but some of the assumptions they make are simply incorrect” he says.
“For example, the BBW campaign claims that all Covid passes are discriminatory, counterproductive and would lead to British citizens having to share personal health information with anyone in authority, from bouncers to bosses. However, there are already privacy-first digital wallets that give individuals the freedom to store and share anonymised medical documents, work credentials and other types of documentation quickly, simply, and securely.
“I wholeheartedly agree that individuals should not be required to share their own personal health information with unknown third parties or with anyone in authority who demands it" Shaw adds. "But I strongly disagree with the suggestion that ‘events and businesses are either safe to open for everyone, or no one’. It creates a false dichotomy that either everyone is safe, or nobody is safe. If employers or event organisers don’t take action to properly manage workplace or venue safety, then they risk curtailing the safety and freedom of movement for the majority."
The subject of personal health data is under scrutiny in the UK at the moment, following controversial plans for the NHS to share patient data with third parties. These have been put on hold following public criticism.
Meanwhile a new report has found that the majority of the British public is willing to embrace digital healthcare tools such as apps and digital therapies prescribed by a trusted healthcare professional.
Shaw adds: “The vital point to make is this: innovations in health technology must ensure self-sovereign identity. This means the data held about an individual is owned by the individual and stored on their device. And, in the case of medical data, that data can be delivered from healthcare professionals to the device in an encrypted format, and the user chooses how they share their information."