UnitedHealth Group to acquire specialty pharmacy Diplomat in $300M deal 

The outside of Optum's headquarters
UnitedHealth Group plans to fold Diplomat into OptumRx. (UnitedHealth Group)

UnitedHealth Group will acquire Diplomat, a specialty pharmacy and infusion services provider, the healthcare giant announced Monday. 

UnitedHealth said it will pay $4 per share, or about $300 million, to acquire Diplomat and fold it into OptumRx, Optum’s pharmacy services division. The deal was unanimously approved by Diplomat’s board of directors. 

Diplomat provides specialty drugs for complex conditions such as immunological and oncological diseases and offers infusion services in all 50 states and the District of Columbia, according to the announcement. 

RELATED: UnitedHealth’s Witty describes Optum’s ambitions for ‘seamless’ consumer health experience 

The companies said that the merger will promote improved health outcomes and lower care costs. 

“With its focus in specialty and infusion services, Diplomat has a proven track record of solving the unique challenges facing patients complex care needs,” said John Prince, CEO of OptumRx, in a statement. 

“This combination will expand the innovative specialty pharmacy and infusion solutions OptumRx can offer to the consumers and clients we serve, helping ensure people get the right medications and services at the right time, in the right setting,” Prince said. 

Diplomat struggled financially for much of 2019. In its second-quarter earnings, executives said they were pursuing all options to right the ship—including a full or partial sale of its business. 

RELATED: UnitedHealth study—Administering specialty drugs outside hospitals could save $4B 

The growing impact of specialty drugs on pharmaceutical spending has been a key concern for payers—a recent study suggests that these drugs account for 40% of employer drug spending despite making up just 1% of prescriptions. 

UnitedHealth Group has also seen significant financial growth in Optum’s various business lines, and the company expects that to continue into 2020 with a significant revenue hike on the back of Optum’s success. 

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