Alliance Healthcare

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Alliance Healthcare
Alliance UniChem
IndustryPharmaceutical, surgical, medical and healthcare
FoundedNovember 1997 (as Alliance UniChem)
Area served
France, Germany, United Kingdom, Turkey, Spain, Russia, Netherlands, Egypt, Czech Republic, Norway, Romania and Lithuania.[1]
Key people
Ornella Barra (Executive Vice President of Walgreens Boots Alliance, Inc. and President and Chief Executive of Global Wholesale and International Retail)[2] Stefano Pessina (Executive Vice Chairman and Acting Chief Executive Officer of Walgreens Boots Alliance)
OwnerWalgreens Boots Alliance

Alliance Healthcare, formerly Alliance UniChem, wholesales, distributes, and retails pharmaceutical, surgical, medical, and healthcare products throughout Europe. The company supplies more than 110,000 pharmacies, doctors, health centres and hospitals from over 288 distribution centres in 11 countries.[3] The company is a wholly owned subsidiary of Walgreens Boots Alliance, which was formed by the merger of Walgreens with its former parent Alliance Boots in December 2014.[4] Alliance Boots had itself been formed in 2006 by the merger of Boots Group and Alliance UniChem on July 31, 2006.[5] Alliance UniChem was rebranded Alliance Healthcare in 2009.


Stefano Pessina founded Alleanza Salute Italia in 1977 under the name of Alleanza Farmaceutica, which expanded to form Alliance Santé SA.[6] In November 1997, Alliance Santé SA merged with UniChem PLC to form Alliance UniChem. The combined business became one of the largest pharmaceutical distributors in Europe. In 1998 it purchased a majority stake in the Spanish pharmaceutical wholesaler Grupo Safa.

In 1999, Alliance UniChem entered into a partnership with Galenica AG of Switzerland, and created the Alliance Farmacie business in Italy. Plus s.r.o. and Pragopharm s.r.o. of the Czech Republic were purchased that year, and Alliance Santè and UniChem's Portuguese subsidiaries merged to form Alliance UniChem Farmacêutica S.A.

The company purchased the Dutch firms Interpharm and De Vier Vijzels in 2000. In 2001 the company entered into a strategic wholesale pharmaceutical partnership with the Turkish company Hedef Holding. In 2002, Alliance UniChem bought the Norwegian pharmaceutical wholesaler Holtung. The company entered the FTSE 100 index that year.

In 2003, Alliance UniChem bought a 40% indirect stake in the Egyptian wholesaler UCP via Hedef. The group launched the Almus brand for the marketing of manufacturers' generic products in the UK, and launched the virtual pharmacy chain Alphega in France. The virtual chain was introduced in Italy the following year.

Alliance UniChem acquired Swiss specialist healthcare logistics and pre-wholesaler Alloga in 2005, as well as Spanish pharmaceutical wholesaler Farmacen, and the Bairds Chemist retail business in Northern Ireland. The UK retail pharmacy business was rebranded from Moss Pharmacy to Alliance Pharmacy.

On October 3, 2005, it was formally announced that Alliance UniChem would enter into a friendly merger with Boots Group, the UK's largest retail pharmacy chain.[7] The merger was completed on July 31, 2006, forming Alliance Boots. Alliance UniChem was renamed Alliance Healthcare in 2009.


  1. ^ "Pharmaceutical wholesaling and distribution". Alliance Boots. 31 March 2014. Retrieved 9 August 2014.
  2. ^ Link label
  3. ^ "Profile: Walgreens Boots Alliance Inc (WBA.O)". Reuters. 31 August 2016. Archived from the original on 20 November 2016. Retrieved 20 November 2016.
  4. ^ "WALGREENS BOOTS ALLIANCE, INC, Form 8-K12B, Filing Date Dec 31, 2014". Retrieved 12 May 2018.
  5. ^ "WALGREENS BOOTS ALLIANCE, INC, Form S-4, Filing Date Sep 16, 2014". Retrieved 12 May 2018.
  6. ^ Stefano Pessina Biography
  7. ^ "Boots announces £7bn merger deal". BBC News. 3 October 2005. Retrieved 29 May 2013.

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