McKesson Specialty Health enters dedicated 3PL arena

US drug-wholesaling leader has 'never had a true 3PL offering'--but that changes now

Given the rapidly evolving marketplace around specialty pharmaceutical logistics, hub services and the like, the surprise isn’t that McKesson Specialty Health (The Woodlands, TX) is entering the third-party logistics (3PL) space—but that it has taken so long to do so. One of the delays, according to company executives, is the steady integration of US Oncology, which McKesson acquired in 2010 and has used as the foundation of the Specialty Health division (in dollar volume, oncology dominates for all specialty distributors). And, the decision to open a 3PL business, to be based in Memphis, is only one of a series of steps McKesson Specialty is taking to address the specialty pharmaceutical space.

According to Paul Furgal, VP of business development for the 3PL group, the new business is a “true 3PL—we are firewalled from the other parts of McKesson’s wholesaling and distribution business, and act solely on behalf of our manufacturer clients.” One of the first such clients is Zylera Pharmaceuticals, a Research Triangle Park, NC producer of products for women’s and pediatric health. “Working with McKesson Specialty Health’s 3PL services has helped simplify and streamline Zylera warehouse operations and communications and improve customer service levels,” noted Mathew Phillips, COO of Zylera Pharmaceuticals.

"We see gaps in current 3PL service offerings on the market, and we aim to fill them," says Furgal, noting that the company has implemented a enterprise resource planning (ERP) system and warehouse management system to automate data collection and storage. The 3PL’s services include order-to-cash, chargebacks, pick-pack and ship, reverse logistics, customer pay-cycle monitoring and collections. The Memphis facility is cGMP-rated, and is close to both a McKesson Regional Distribution Center (which handles shipments to satellite DCs) and the McKesson RxPak facility, which performs repackaging services.