Cardinal Health Acquisitions & Mergers


© History Oasis


  • Medicine Shoppe International (1995)
  • Pyxis Corporation (1996)
  • Owen Healthcare (1997)
  • Allegiance Healthcare (1999)
  • Bindley Western Industries (2001)
  • ParMed Pharmaceuticals (2006)
  • VIASYS Healthcare (2007)
  • Healthcare Solutions Holding (2010)
  • Kinray (2010) 
  • Yong Yu (between 2010-2014)
  • Red Oak Sourcing (with CVS, 2014) 
  • Cordis (2015) 
  • Patient product portfolio from Medtronic (2017)


Medicine Shoppe
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In 1995, the ever-acquisitive Cardinal Health set its sights on expanding its retail pharmacy offerings through acquisition.

It purchased Medicine Shoppe International, which was then the largest franchisor of retail pharmacies across the United States.

This represented the company's first major move into non-distribution services and products. It proved a harbinger of Cardinal's strategy in the years ahead—combining distribution scale and reach with owned pharmacy outlets and services.

The Medicine Shoppe deal enabled Cardinal Health to gain a foothold in the front-end consumer space, complementing its formidable back-end distribution business.


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Eager to expand its offerings to hospitals in the mid-1990s, Cardinal Health acquired Pyxis Corporation for $867 million, bringing automated medication dispensing technology into its portfolio.

Founded in 1992, Pyxis had made significant inroads developing patient safety products such as automated medication carts for hospitals.

The sizable acquisition positioned Cardinal as an end-to-end provider of medication management products and services to the healthcare system.

It marked the company's first major technology acquisition, presaging Cardinal's strategy of combining distribution scale with technology solutions.

The deal enabled Cardinal Health to meet rising hospital demand for pharmacy automation and safety products in the 1990s healthcare landscape.


OWEN Healthcare
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Seeking to expand its foothold in pharmacy services, Cardinal Health acquired Owen Healthcare for an undisclosed sum in 1997.

At the time, Owen was the second-largest provider of pharmacy management services across the United States healthcare system.

This enabled Cardinal Health to position itself not just as a products distributor, but also a provider of value-added and outsourced pharmacy operation services.

It marked a critical strategic move to complement Cardinal's distribution pipeline with pharmacy practice management skills.

The deal was emblematic of Cardinal Health's 90s era growth strategy—pairing its distribution with services offerings for retail pharmacies and health systems.


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In 1999, Cardinal Health acquired Allegiance Healthcare, a Chicago-based medical products manufacturer with a focus on wound, surgical, and infection prevention supplies.

Allegiance was previously a division of diversified healthcare giant Baxter International before being spun off as a stand-alone business.

Cardinal Health saw the Allegiance acquisition as an opportunity to expand into branded manufacturing in the medical supplies segment.

With the deal, Cardinal aimed to strengthen its ability to offer an integrated distribution and manufacturer product portfolio to hospitals and health systems.

It also marked Cardinal Health’s strategy of using acquisitions to move into complementary business lines beyond pharmaceutical distribution.


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Seeking to solidify its position as a leader in pharmaceutical distribution, Cardinal Health acquired Indianapolis-based Bindley Western Industries in 2001.

Bindley Western was one of the largest drug wholesalers in America at the time, with substantial reach across the hospital, pharmacy, and manufacturer markets.

With this critical acquisition, Cardinal Health cemented its position as one of the "Big 3" pharmaceutical wholesalers alongside McKesson and AmerisourceBergen.

It marked a doubling down on distribution scale in Cardinal's aggressive early 2000s growth strategy.

Ultimately, the Bindley Western deal enabled Cardinal Health to strengthen its national distribution footprint and relationships across the healthcare spectrum.


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Looking to strengthen its pharmaceutical distribution network in the Northeast in 2006, Cardinal Health acquired ParMed Pharmaceuticals for $40.1 million.

Headquartered in Niagara Falls, New York, ParMed specialized in delivering medications and compounds to hospitals and pharmacies.

The ParMed deal enabled Cardinal Health to expand its regional distribution footprint beyond its Ohio base into Upstate New York.

It also furthered Cardinal’s strategy of growth through acquisitions of niche pharmaceutical distributors in key geographies.

Ultimately, ParMed’s network and specialty institutional pharmacy offerings bolstered Cardinal Health’s national distribution scale and reach.


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Expanding into medical technology in 2007, Cardinal Health successfully acquired VIASYS Healthcare for $1.5 billion through a public tender offer.

Based in Pennsylvania, VIASYS specialized in respiratory care products used widely in hospitals and clinics.

With this deal, Cardinal entered a new product area complementary to its focus on pharmaceutical distribution and services.

The VIASYS acquisition enabled Cardinal to diversify its offerings further into the medical devices segment beyond medications and supplies.

Ultimately, it also reflected Cardinal Health's growth-focused strategy of big, bold acquisitions to expand its healthcare empire.


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Seeking to deepen its presence in specialty pharmaceutical distribution and services, Cardinal Health acquired Healthcare Solutions Holding in 2010 for $517 million.

Based in Illinois, Healthcare Solutions specialized in services supporting complex drugs for rare diseases and genomics.

This helped expand Cardinal Health's distribution and pharmacy offerings for specialized medications requiring cold-chain or third party logistics.

The deal also enabled Cardinal to provide expanded support services for biotech firms and specialty pharmacies navigating this complex field.

Ultimately, it reflected Cardinal's strategy to grow through acquiring niche players providing critical services across the pharmaceutical value chain.


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Eager to expand its reach in the independent pharmacy space in 2010, Cardinal Health acquired New York-based pharmaceutical wholesaler Kinray for an undisclosed sum.

Founded in 1954, Kinray had grown into the nation’s largest privately-held drug wholesaler serving independent pharmacies.

The strategic acquisition enabled Cardinal Health to significantly bolster its presence in the independent pharmacy market by an estimated 40 percent.

It marked Cardinal’s focus on nurturing relationships with small pharmacies beyond just the national chains.

The Kinray deal gave Cardinal unmatched scale and service capabilities supporting the diverse needs of America’s expansive independent pharmacy landscape.


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Seeking to expand its distribution footprint beyond the United States in the early 2010s, Cardinal Health acquired a 70% stake in Chinese pharmaceutical wholesaler Yong Yu for $470 million.

This marked Cardinal Health's first major foray into the Chinese healthcare market, which was growing rapidly at the time. The move reflected Cardinal's global ambitions for its pharmaceutical distribution business amid industry consolidation.

Ultimately, Cardinal would sell its stake in Yong Yu to a Chinese buyer in 2017 for $1.2 billion, crystallizing the value created from its strategic international expansion.

The Yong Yu deal enabled Cardinal Health to gain knowledge and experience in the Chinese regulatory climate, priming further Cardinal growth plays in emerging markets.


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In 2014, Cardinal Health and drugstore giant CVS joined forces to establish Red Oak Sourcing, the largest generic drug sourcing operation in America.

Formed with an equal stake, the venture enabled bulk sourcing of generic pharmaceuticals from international markets for US distribution.

This reflected Cardinal Health’s strategy of creative partnerships and global scale to expand access and affordability of generic medications.

Ultimately Red Oak leveraged the sourcing and supply chain prowess of Cardinal Health with the retail pharmacy footprint and patient reach of CVS Caremark.

The innovative joint venture marked a new chapter in Cardinal’s growth approach via collaboration instead of acquisition.


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Eager to diversify beyond pharmaceutical distribution, Cardinal Health acquired Cardiovascular device manufacturer Cordis from healthcare giant Johnson & Johnson in 2015 for $1.94 billion.

Originally a pioneer in catheters and stents, Cordis gave Cardinal an entry into cardiovascular equipment and services.

The deal realization reflected Cardinal Health’s strategy to grow inorganically into adjacent health sectors beyond its pharmaceutical distribution stronghold.

Ultimately Cardinal would divest Cordis in 2021, unable to achieve meaningful commercial synergies from the ambitious but ill-fitting acquisition attempt. Still, the temporary foray illustrated Cardinal’s willingness to make bold bets expanding into new clinical supply and technology sectors.


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Seeking to become a more diversified medical products and services provider, Cardinal Health acquired Medtronic’s portfolio of patient care, vascular therapy, and nutritional therapy offerings in 2017 for $6.1 billion.

This brought Cardinal capabilities for at-home medical equipment provision for recovering patients.

It marked Cardinal’s largest deal to date, furthering its transformation beyond pharmaceutical distribution into higher-growth business lines.

The ambitious Medtronic acquisition exemplified Cardinal's appetite for substantial deals expanding its positioning across the healthcare continuum of care.

Absorbing these new product lines enabled Cardinal to support patients in recovery settings as well as limited mobility populations.