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Cardinal Health’s Independence Medical unit helps pharmacy owners tap into growing home healthcare market


SEATTLE — One of the fastest-growing segments in health care today is home health care, which is expected to become even more important over the next decade. To help independent pharmacies take advantage of the market, Cardinal Health is giving its customers access to more than 30,000 medical products through Independence Medical, the company said Friday, here in Seattle, at its annual Retail Business Conference for independent pharmacy owners.

Earlier this year, Cardinal Health acquired Twinsburg, Ohio-based Independence Medical, founded in 1990. The company is a major distributor of wholesale medical supplies, serving more than 12,000 commercial customers and carrying 30,000 SKUs across diabetes, wound care, urology, durable medical equipment and others.

"In today's increasingly competitive healthcare landscape, it's more important than ever before that community pharmacies find innovative ways to grow their businesses while meeting their patients' evolving healthcare needs," Cardinal Health Pharmaceutical Segment president for U.S. Pharmaceutical Distribution Jon Giacomin said.

The numbers from the Bureau of Labor Statistics give an idea of how important home health care is and will continue to be. According to the BLS, more than 1.8 million people were employed as home health and personal care aides in 2010, a figure that is expected to rise by more than 1.3 million (70%) by 2020.

For its part, Cardinal Health said Independence Medical can deliver its products to 99% of the U.S. population within one to two business days, either to a pharmacy for in-store pickup or directly to the patient's door, with the pharmacy's name printed on the package. Pharmacies can use personalized catalogs, customized fliers and brochures, educational materials and package inserts tailored to specific patient demographics, as well as marketing tools to help pharmacies promote their medical product offerings and attract new customers.

Proprietary industry data can help pharmacies manage patient formularies and develop cross-selling opportunities that build customer loyalty and increase margins. Meanwhile, customers can order through the web, phone, fax or secure electronic platforms to provide customers with ordering flexibility and convenience.

"This new offering will help retail pharmacies diversify their revenue while also strengthening their role as a local healthcare destination in the communities they serve," Giacomin said.

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