Centene buys specialty pharmacy for $152M

In hopes of boosting its pharmacy benefits business, Medicaid provider Centene is acquiring specialty pharmacy firm AcariaHealth for $152 million.

The St. Louis-based insurer said the purchase will expand its pharmacy benefits manager, US Script, to provide pharmacy services for such complex diseases as hepatitis C, multiple sclerosis, rheumatoid arthritis and cancer, the Associated Press reported.

AcariaHealth "will enhance US Script's ability to serve as a stand-alone pharmacy benefit management company, which is a key component to Centene's broader product offerings to its state customers," Jason Harrold, Centene's executive vice president of specialty companies, said Monday in a statement.

Acquiring Orlando, Fla.-based AcariaHealth, which has locations in Houston; New York; Los Angeles and Sacramento, Calif.; and Fairfax and Falls Church, Va., also will help Centene improve services for its high-needs groups, including the aged, blind or disabled, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported.

The deal is pending regulatory approval and is expected to close by the end of this year's first quarter, according to the St. Louis Business Journal.

To learn more:
- here's the Centene statement
- read the AP article
- see the St. Louis Post-Dispatch article
- check out the St. Louis Business Journal article