Walgreens increases infusion presence

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

DEERFIELD, Ill.--Walgreens OptionCare continues to build its home infusion empire, brick by brick. The company picked up CareMax Medical Resources for an undisclosed sum, it announced Feb. 27.

The Tampa, Fla.-based CareMax offers home infusion, respiratory and DME though a handful of locations in Colorado, Florida, Pennsylvania and Texas.

“This is really an infusion deal for Walgreens OptionCare,” said Kevin Palamara, a managing director with Boston-based Provident Healthcare Partners. “Walgreens OptionCare already provides this service in several markets, so they are willing to look at opportunities like CareMax - a business that is predominately infusion therapy with a small DME/RT component.”

Walgreens leapfrogged into the No. 2 position in the home infusion market with its $850 million acquisition of Buffalo Grove, Ill.-based OptionCare in June 2007. Since then, the company has added several smaller, regional companies to its stable.

Walgreens appears well-positioned to continue growing its home health division, says analyst Alan Brochstein.

“They have a lot of buying power when it comes to pharmaceuticals, whether it’s infused pharmaceuticals or working with mail order,” said Brochstein, president of Houston-based AB Analytical Services. “All these things allow them to get even better purchasing power.”

CareMax is a subsidiary of Maxim Healthcare Service.

 “The transaction was part of a planned divestiture of non-core assets to allow Maxim to focus on its home health and medical staffing businesses,” stated Rick Glass, president of Steven Richards & Associates, which represented Maxim in the deal.