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Kroger Announces Merger With Axium Pharmacy

CINCINNATI and LAKE MARY, Fla., Nov. 15, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- The Kroger Co. (NYSE: KR) today announced it will acquire the outstanding shares of Axium Pharmacy Holdings, Inc., a leading specialty pharmacy, to create a merger of the two companies.

Founded in 2000, Axium provides drug therapies and patient-support services to treat chronic, genetic and other complex medical conditions such as cancer, Hepatitis C, Rheumatoid Arthritis, Multiple Sclerosis and numerous other chronic care conditions. This partnership gives Kroger significantly enhanced capabilities to serve customers who require complex drug therapies, and to deliver those therapies at greater value to customers and insurance payers. Financial terms were not disclosed.

"Kroger and Axium are a strategic fit as we look to enter the high-growth specialty pharmacy business," said Lincoln Lutz, Kroger's vice president of corporate pharmacy. "The combination of Axium's expertise and Kroger's 1,950 pharmacy locations, 91 Little Clinic locations, and pharmacists who provide health coaching, biometric screening and other wellness services will deliver positive health outcomes for our patients, cost savings for insurance payers, and unique services for physicians."

Strong Growth Opportunity                                                                     

Specialty pharmacy is the primary area of growth in pharmaceuticals. Revenue for specialty drugs has grown from $17 Billion in 2000 to $104 Billion in 2011, and is projected to grow to $135 Billion in 2014. In 2011, 80% of new drugs approved by the FDA were specialty drugs.  Currently more than 700 specialty drugs are in the pipeline for approval.

"This partnership supports Kroger's long-term growth plans, with strong return on invested capital," said Rodney McMullen, Kroger's president and chief operating officer.

Kroger announced a new long-term growth strategy at an investor's conference in October.

Axium Healthcare Pharmacy

Headquartered in Lake Mary, Florida, Axium is one of the nation's largest independent providers of specialty pharmacy services, offering a range of clinical services to patients with complex chronic conditions. Through its additional pharmacy locations in Puerto Rico, Tennessee and Mississippi, Axium provides comprehensive specialty pharmacy services to patients throughout the United States and Puerto Rico.

Axium seamlessly addresses the clinical, administrative and financial needs of patients, referring physicians, insurance payers and pharmaceutical manufacturers.

  • For patients, Axium increases medication adherence and enhances the overall quality of patient care through personalized education and treatment, 24/7/365 clinical support and  side effect management;
  • For insurance payers, Axium delivers cost effective care management programs and data-driven clinical outcomes;
  • For manufacturers, Axium provides product training for patients, side effect interventions and reporting, and increased medication adherence; and
  • For physicians, Axium improves coordination of patient care through insurance eligibility verification, product consultation, patient monitoring, and clinical interventions to minimize side effects and avoid adverse drug interactions.      

Axium will continue to operate as an independent company within the Kroger family.

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