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UnitedHealth has bought another billion-dollar pharmacy business

UnitedHealth Group Inc.’s Optum business has disclosed it bought Avella Specialty Pharmacy, a previously unannounced deal that closed in the third quarter. The Minnetonka-based health care giant revealed the acquisition in an earnings announcement Tuesday.

Phoenix-based Avella distributes specialty drugs, which typically are high-cost and treat complex conditions. UnitedHealth didn’t disclose terms of the deal, which will bring Avella under the umbrella of the United’s OptumRx pharmacy-benefits unit.

Source: Statista

The deal was OptumRx’s second acquisition in recent months. It also bought Renton, Wash.-based Genoa Healthcare, which operates pharmacies inside mental-health centers and provides telepsychiatry services.

Avella generated about $1.4 billion in revenue from prescription drugs last year, up 6 percent from a year earlier, according to Drug Channels Institute research. It had roughly 700 employees as of 2016, according to the Phoenix Business Journal.

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Tyrone Squires, MBA, CPBS

I am the proud founder and managing director of TransparentRx, a fiduciary-model PBM based in Las Vegas, Nevada. We help health plan sponsors reduce pharmacy spend, by as much as 50%, without cutting benefits or shifting costs to employees.

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