McKesson jumps into plasma, blood-based products wholesaling

Pharmaceutical CommercePharmaceutical Commerce - April 2009

New unit will ship from La Vergne, TN specialty-care products warehouse

McKesson Plasma and BioLogics is a new business unit that is set up to deliver plasma, globulins, blood factors and some related biotech products to clinics and other specialty providers. Ted Boyle, VP and GM of the new unit, based in La Vergne, TN, says that McKesson is entering the business based on demand from the specialty pharma manufacturers that concentrate on these products, as well as overall growth in the business. All products will be obtained directly from manufacturers (a business practice that McKesson has established for all of its pharma stocks) and sent direct to customers, he says.

The La Vergne facility, which is also the distribution point for McKesson Specialty Care Solutions (handling specialty pharmaceuticals), is already equipped with the refrigeration capacity that blood products require, and is sited near overnight-air carriers such as FedEx. Plasma and BioLogics will offer centralized ordering, billing and delivery services. Perhaps the biggest competitive advantage for the new unit is that orders will count toward existing supply contracts that McKesson (the largest US distributor) has with its customers, allowing them to count the blood products toward overall volume discounts, and simplifying order processing.

Blood products have had a bumpy track record in meeting market demand in recent years, due to variations in donated blood supplies, quality control issues and spotty coverage by insurers. However, in the past couple years American Red Cross and other blood processors have stabilized their supply, and notices of allocations or shortages of these products have become rarer.

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