Parata Acquires McKesson APS

Pharmacy Times
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Parata Systems LLC and McKesson Corp are working together to expand the growth of the pharmacy automation market. The Durham, NC-based Parata recently completed the acquisition of McKesson Automated Prescription Services (APS). The expansion will bring a projected 130 jobs over the next 3 years, part of a total $15-million investment over 5 years for the corporate operation.

The alliance is "the perfect combination of the attributes both companies have," said Jess Eberdt, chief executive officer of Parata. "We look forward to aligning with McKesson to offer our retail pharmacy customers the most advanced technologies to enhance the safety and accuracy of the prescription process," he added.

Under the agreement, the McKesson APS product line will come under the Parata banner, creating an integrated portfolio of automation solutions, from low-volume semiautomated systems to mid-volume workflow and robotics solutions to high-volume processing.

The 2 companies also have entered into a 5-year exclusive strategic alliance. As part of the alliance, McKesson will become the sales lead resource for Parata in the United States and the exclusive third-party distributor in Canada and Mexico. McKesson's High-Volume Solutions Division, provider of customized, automated prescription-fulfillment systems for the central-fill, mail-service, and specialty pharmacy industries, will have exclusive rights to all of Parata's products to serve the growing demand in the marketplace.

"Together, Parata and McKesson will drive the growth of the pharmacy automation market through an unbeatable combination of engineering innovation, high reliability, strong distribution, and exemplary service and support," said Paul Julian, executive vice president and group president for McKesson Corp. Parata plans to consolidate operations in North Carolina. The company will bring nearly 75 customer service and support, engineering, and manufacturing jobs to the state as part of its integration of the McKesson APS business. A majority of the positions will increase Parata's customer support and engineering functions, while approximately 10 positions will be in manufacturing. As a result, McKesson's APS facility in Alexandria, La, is scheduled to close by February 2007. The company also has a location in Pittsburgh, Pa.

"It's purely a function of the mass and customer base that comes with this acquisition," said Eberdt about the relocation.

Charles "De" Lelly, executive vice president for Parata operations, explained, "Our customers consistently reinforce how much they value our strong commitment to service and support.We work closely with every customer to ensure they fully leverage their investment in our technology to enhance the safety and productivity of their pharmacy operations. As we integrate our expanded customer base, we are committed to extending that approach, in addition to our strong R&D and design innovation focus."

In a short period of time, Parata, which was founded in 2001, has made great strides. "We feel fortunate to have made as much progress as we have," commented Eberdt. In terms of the response from the industry about the recent acquisition, he said, "Right out of the gate, the market reaction has been overwhelming from customers and prospective customers. I had high expectations, and [the acquisition] has exceeded them."

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