A Medical Device Daily

Given the growth of the number of persons diagnosed with diabetes, supplies to patients in that market are a sure bet. And two companies have added to their supply chain capabilities in the sector.

PolyMedica (Woburn, Massachusetts) said that its Liberty Medical Supply (Port Saint Lucie, Florida) subsidiary, has acquired substantially all of the assets, excluding receivables, and the business of National Diabetic Assistance (NDAC; Deerfield Beach, Florida).

And large medical supplier Owens & Minor (Richmond, Virginia) reported acquiring Access Diabetic Supply (Pompano Beach, Florida), a distributor of supplies for those with the disease.

PolyMedica has agreed to pay about $13.6 million for NDAC's patient list and most of its assets, including inventory and equipment.

In its purchase of NDAC, Liberty also bought NDAC's Deerfield Beach facility, including the land and building, for an additional $3.5 million. The acquired operations will continue to function from Deerfield Beach, and Liberty said it would hire substantially all of NDAC's employees, including the company's two founders.

NDAC provides diabetes testing supplies and respiratory medications primarily to Medicare beneficiaries throughout the country. Its revenues for 2004 were about $15 million, and, at closing, the company had a patient base of roughly 29,000.

Patrick Ryan, president and CEO of PolyMedica, called NDAC “a great addition to our company and brings us not only a significant number of new patients but a dedicated team of well-trained people who are focused on providing superior service.“

He added, “The purchase of the Deerfield Beach facility provides Liberty an important back-up call-center should our other operations ever be disrupted, as they were during the past hurricane season.“

Separately, PolyMedica reported that in the quarter ended Dec. 31, the Liberty Medical unit also purchased the inventory and active patient base of another, unnamed diabetes testing supplier serving about 7,500 patients.

PolyMedica is a provider of healthcare products and services to patients suffering from chronic diseases. With more than 650,000 active patients, the company bills itself as the nation's largest provider of blood glucose testing supplies and services to people with diabetes. In addition, PolyMedica provides a range of prescription medications through its mail-order pharmacy and a network of more than 40,000 retail pharmacies that honor its drug discount card.

Its Liberty Healthcare unit focuses on diabetes and respiratory care, delivering products and services to their homes. It is well known for its direct-to-consumer television commercials. By frequently communicating with patients and providing the convenience of home delivery, Liberty says it improves patient compliance to enhance the quality of their lives.

In the acquisition of Access Diabetic Supply, Owens & Minor will expand its resources primarily for supplying blood glucose monitoring devices, test strips and other ancillary products used in the day-to-day management of diabetes.

Terms of the deal were not disclosed.

Craig Smith, president and chief operating officer of Owens & Minor, said the purchase “extends our core competency of medical products distribution into the home and is consistent with our long-term strategy to expand our reach in the healthcare supply chain. This is a logical extension of our abilities into a rapidly growing market.“

Access will operate as a separate entity within the corporate structure of Owens & Minor subsidiaries, and about 200 Access employees, along with company executives, will join Owens & Minor.

Launched in 2000, Access, with 2004 revenues of about $32 million, puts itself among the top 10 companies in the $1 billion, direct-to-consumer diabetic supply sector, a growing market driven by the increasing incidence of diabetes and other chronic health conditions. Americans diagnosed with diabetes total roughly 13 million, according to the American Diabetes Association (Alexandria, Virginia), with that number expected to increase to about 17 million by 2009.

Ewing Bemiss & Co. (Richmond, Virginia) advised Owens & Minor in the transaction, while Brookwood Associates (Charlotte, North Carolina) advised Access.

Besides distributing products used for the daily monitoring of blood glucose, Access offers products serving patients with other conditions such as chronic respiratory disease. Access reports distributing its products to more than 50,000 customers across the U.S., handling reimbursements with Medicare and private insurers.

Owens & Minor is a leading distributor of national name-brand medical and surgical supplies and a healthcare supply chain management company serving hospitals, integrated healthcare systems, alternate-care locations, group purchasing organizations and the federal government.

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