Pharmacy benefit managers appear to be pruning their assets these days: earlier this month it was CVS Health letting go of RxCrossroads; this week it’s Express Scripts selling off United Biosource, a services firm involved in patient hub services, outcomes research and clinical support. The UBC buyer is Avista Capital Partners, a private equity firm with assets in healthcare, energy and communications. Purchase price was not disclosed.
“Our team of clinical and commercial experts understands the many facets of drug development, market access, and safety,” said Patrick Lindsay, UBC president, in a statement. “Avista’s commitment to the healthcare industry makes them the ideal partner as we continue to improve patient care. Together, we will provide our clients, their patients, and their prescribers with innovative services.”
UBC was acquired by Medco Health Solutions in 2010, and then that PBM was acquired by Express Scripts in 2012. A year later, Express Scripts sold parts of UBC to Symphony Technology Group, which folded the businesses into its newly formed Evidera unit—and later sold that to the CRO, PPD. Now, the remaining parts of UBC, with 13 locations in the US, Europe and Canada, have been let go. There’s a logic that PBMs, which have direct relationships with patients through their mail order pharmacies, should also be offering hub-type patient support services, but it’s also true that the hub service providers, which are generally funded by the pharma industry, can better serve pharma when independent of the PBMs.