United Drug solidifies its Ashfield pharma-services businesses globally

Reorganization is hoped to raise profile of company's contract-sales, patient-support and related services

Dublin, Ireland’s United Drug PLC (which is actually to be known as UDG Healthcare going forward) has announced a reorganization of business units and recent acquisitions, now to be known as Ashfield Commercial and Medical Services. The idea is to unite a portfolio of services, specifically for pharma clients, ranging from the developmental to post-approval stage—and to do so on an international basis. The eight units now united under the Commercial and Medical Services title are:

  • Ashfield Commercial, which includes Ashfield contract sales and the Pharmexx contract-sales organization;
  • Ashfield Clinical
  • Ashfield Healthcare Communications
  • Ashfield Meetings and Events
  • Ashfield Insight and Performance
  • Ashfield Pharmacovigilance, which includes the recent acquisition Drug Safety Alliance;
  • Ashfield Market Access, including the Synopia Rx solutions provider;
  • Ashfield Medical Information, including InforMed and Watermeadow agencies.

“The Ashfield name suffers, somewhat, from being better known in Europe than in the US,” comments Mary Anne Greenberg, newly appointed regional president of North America of the new division. “But we have over 1,000 employees in this group in North America now, and a solid foundation to go forward.” The US headquarters will be in Philadelphia. UDG Healthcare also has a presence in the US through its Sharp Packaging unit, based in Allentown, PA.

“This integration across the Ashfield division is a response to the major change our clients’ businesses are going through. The healthcare industry wants to work with fewer vendors and more business partners who can bring breadth of expertise with a strong consistency of quality and compliance coupled with a spirit of innovation to cost-effectively accelerate their success,” said Gareth Davies, divisional marketing director, in a statement.

Ashfield Commercial and Medical Services shapes up to be a broad-based player competitive with other portfolio companies, including inVentiv Health, Quintiles, UBC and IMS Health, all of whom are targeting the industry with a broader array of commercial services. Big Pharma now has a growing number of Big Pharma Services to call on.