Cardinal Health grabs Sonexus Health, a fast-growing hub-services company

Move will strengthen Cardinal's Specialty Solutions unit

Hub services are a specialized but fast-growing sector of the pharma services business. The companies involved provide a broad (and growing) list of patient-support services, ranging from benefit investigation to follow-up care for chronic conditions. Companies marketing specialty pharmaceuticals and orphan drugs are becoming more dependent on these services in increasingly competitive therapy classes.

Now, Cardinal Health, whose Specialty Solutions business has evolved over the past few years through a combination of internal asset allocations and acquisitions, has added one more arrow to its quiver: Sonexus Health (Lewisville, TX). Sonexus opened its doors for business only about a year ago, and the company told Pharmaceutical Commerce that the distribution center it has built over last summer was already maxed out and a new round of construction was being scheduled.

“The addition of Sonexus Health to our portfolio brings us even closer to the patient, by enabling us to provide a next generation solution to help clients ensure that patients who need specialty medications can get faster access to them, and the right services to improve clinical outcomes,” said Scott Howell, MD, SVP of clinical affairs for Cardinal Health Specialty Solutions, in a statement. “Our combined core competencies further strengthen our efforts to help payors, physician practices and biopharmaceutical manufacturers navigate the growing complexity of specialty care.”

“Cardinal Health Specialty Solutions shares our commitment to improving the quality and efficiency of specialty care by providing patient-centered solutions and actionable insight that specialty manufacturers need and expect,” said Mike Mullen, president of Sonexus Health.

Whose patient is it anyway?

Hub services represent a manufacturer’s effort to extend its scope of involvement with patients by getting them and keeping them on therapy. Some observers look on the topic as simply a modern form of patient support services (patient assistance programs, adherence programs and the like), but many players in the hub field—including Sonexus---include logistics services, necessary to get needed drugs to patients. The equally fast-growing field of specialty pharmacy is also fighting for its place in this; Diplomat Pharmacy (Flint, MI) has just opened its own, independently run hub service, Envoy Health, and organizations ranging from PBMs to health systems are making their own bids for the follow-on services.

Sonexus’ operations in Lewisville will remain, and Cardinal says that “customers will continue to be served in the same service model.”