Behind The Alliance/National CooperativeRx Partnership

Paul Meyer  •   August 17, 2021

If you’ve ever worked with National CooperativeRx or attended one of their events, you’ve likely heard of The Alliance. National CooperativeRx and The Alliance have a strategic partnership that was formed in 2002, when The Alliance helped found the not-for-profit pharmacy benefit management cooperative. The easiest way to describe the difference between the two cooperatives is that National CooperativeRx does for pharmacy benefits what The Alliance does for health care: serves as the voice of self-funded employers who are weary of rising costs and seek transparent benefit plan design.

About The Alliance

The Alliance moves health care forward by controlling costs, improving quality, and engaging individuals in their health. Employers are the second largest purchaser of health care in the country, yet typically have little contribution to the constantly rising price or quality. However, by self-funding and banding together to leverage their purchasing power, employers can control more of their costs and demand better care for their dollar together. The Alliance has been creating clarity in health care for over 30 years by providing transparent, creative approaches to network and benefit plan design to unlock savings where others can’t – or won’t – using Smarter NetworksSM and sophisticated data mining and analysis.

The Alliance currently contracts with:

300 employer-members

32,000+ doctors and providers

7,200+ clinic sites

135+ hospitals

My Relationship with National CooperativeRx

Having been a part of The Alliance since 1996, I have also been a part of National CooperativeRx’s transition from a small, not-for-profit organization (known as WisconsinRx back then) striving to manage the complex and ever-changing world of prescription drug purchasing, to a nationwide organization of skilled professionals who provide transparent, high-quality pharmacy benefits to its members.

Recently, I reflected on the very beginning of the partnership between National CooperativeRx and The Alliance by connecting with Deb Thomsen, vice president of coalition development at National CooperativeRx, who has played an integral role since the very beginning. She elaborated, “Alliance leaders were instrumental in launching National CooperativeRx, as our first six groups in 2004 were members of The Alliance. Their guidance, innovation and dedication has helped the Cooperative create a pharmacy benefit management arrangement centered around our membership.”

I have also served on the National CooperativeRx Board of Directors since 2008 and currently hold the position of past chair. I joined the Board because I wanted an opportunity to collaborate with forward-thinking, like-minded individuals who shared a common goal of providing necessary oversight to members’ pharmacy benefit plans.

To date, National CooperativeRx has 275 member groups that consist of over 370,000 lives. As National CooperativeRx grows, so does its strength in partnerships. Their reciprocal relationship with The Alliance resulted in even more groups moving to the Cooperative in recent years. Together, we now share 43 member groups and more than 39,000 lives. This is just another benefit of partnering with a focus on bettering the health care and pharmaceutical industry.


About the Author

Paul Meyer joined The Alliance in 1996 and served as the director of finance and operations until he became chief operating officer in 2007. As the COO of The Alliance, his main duties include overseeing the claims and customer service, finance, MIS, and HR departments as well as business planning and reporting. Meyer also serves as the treasurer of The Alliance Board of Directors.

In addition to his work at The Alliance, Meyer serves as past board chair for National CooperativeRx, providing direction for the not-for-profit pharmacy benefit purchasing cooperative.