Walgreen's Home Care pushes into California

Wednesday, November 30, 2005

DEERFIELD, Ill. - Walgreen's Home Care will enter the California homecare market with its acquisition of Home Care Pharmacy of California, one of the largest independent home infusion companies in the state.
"This is a company that has a great reputation for patient care and is one of the most widely known in southern California," said Ron Allen, Walgreen's vice president of homecare services.
The company, with locations in Burbank, Corona and Ventura, provides home infusion, hospice and nutrition therapy, as well as specialty pharmacy services.
The acquisition doesn't surprise some industry analysts.
"I think they have a lot of managed care contracts on the pharmacy side and those are some relationships they could perhaps leverage on the HME side," said Bob Leonard, managing director of Pittsburgh-based Braff Group. "They are interested in both the infusion piece, as well as the HME oxygen piece."
The move is in line with Walgreen's controlled growth strategy. With the acquisition, the company will have a presence in nine states--a seemingly small number for a wholly owned subsidiary of the nation's largest pharmacy chain with sales of $42.2 billion in fiscal 2005.
But if the company has been seen as dipping its toe in HME waters over the past few years, it may be getting ready to wade in.
"We're getting more aggressive," said Allen. "Acquisitions are a part of our growth strategy as we enter into some of our new target markets. We're looking to build a baseline to grow from, a company to build the Walgreen name upon."