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Addressing the Pharmacist Shortage: Medco Labor Coalition(TM) Launches National Scholarship Program to Support the Development of the Next Generation of Pharmacists

Coalition Seeking Students with a Prescription for Improving Pharmacy Care

in America

FRANKLIN LAKES, N.J., Feb. 13 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- Prescription medication use in the United States continues to surge, driven by an aging population, longer life expectancy and the development of exciting new therapies that hold great promise in addressing the ills of millions of patients. However, numerous national reports reveal a looming healthcare crisis within the next decade -- a national shortage of 157,000 pharmacists needed to, quite literally, fill the prescription healthcare needs of millions of patients.

As part of its continued dedication to addressing the pharmacy care needs in America, Medco Health Solutions, Inc. (NYSE: MHS) today announced a national scholarship program to identify and support the development of the next generation of pharmacists. The scholarship program -- one of a number of initiatives Medco has undertaken to advance pharmacy care in America -- will be conducted through the Medco Labor Coalition, the nation's only coalition dedicated to providing pharmacy benefits to small and mid-size labor unions.

"A career in pharmacy is now so much more than it was just a few years ago, literally transcending plastic trays and counting pills to now encompassing everything from genetics and personalized medicine to electronic prescribing," said Pamela T. Miller, vice president market strategy and development, Medco. "Delivering prescription care in the 21st century presents one of the greatest domestic healthcare challenges to our nation, and we're excited to support students today who hold the promise for tomorrow."

Within just the past decade, the role of the pharmacist has moved beyond the corner druggist to exciting careers that touch engineering, genetics, manufacturing, drug development, public policy and clinical specialization. For its part, Medco has instituted a number of initiatives to drive improvement in pharmacy care in America. Most recently, Medco became the only pharmacy in the United States to offer care from more than 800 specialist pharmacists trained in one of eight chronic disease categories. Medco is driving the future application of technologies such as personalized medicine through research partnerships with the Mayo Clinic and LabCorp; automated dispensing to improve dispensing accuracy as illustrated in its two automated pharmacies; and electronic prescribing through innovative efforts like the Southeast Michigan e-Prescribing Initiative (SEMI). The company also provides scholarship grants to 19 schools of pharmacy in the United States to foster learning and expand pharmacy training.

"This is an exciting time to consider a career in pharmacy, because there are so many ways that one can make an impact on millions of Americans," said Medco Chief Pharmacist Roger Anderson, Dr.P.H. "We are leading the emergence of many of the most exciting advances in pharmacy care, and we're excited to be able to provide opportunities to those students who want to make a difference."

The Medco Labor Coalition Scholarship is based on a combination of academic achievement, commitment to a career in pharmacy, leadership and community service. The number of recipients and the amount of the scholarship to each student will be decided on an annual basis by Medco. Awardees will be chosen on an annual basis by an independent scholarship service retained by Medco to administer the program. Scholarship eligibility is exclusively for biological and legally adopted children of members of union clients in the Medco Labor Coalition.

The competitive selection process will give consideration to the respective ability, educational goals, career ambitions, and the relative financial need of the applicants by an independent awards advisory committee, comprised of college officials. In addition to receiving a financial scholarship award, recipients will be considered for a summer internship at Medco during the year their scholarship is granted.

The application deadline is April 15, 2008. Paper applications can be mailed to Medco Labor Coalition Scholarship, 4320-G Wade Hampton Blvd., Taylors, SC, 29687. The applicant's name and Medco Labor Coalition must be included on each page. Students wishing to apply online can go to and click on the "Scholarship Programs" link. The Medco Labor Coalition section of the site lists eligibility and other scholarship requirements.

The Medco Labor Coalition is the first coalition designed to provide pharmacy benefits for small-to-midsize unions to work directly with a pharmacy benefit manager. It offers pricing for benefits comparable to that experienced by larger labor organizations. The 88,000-member coalition, which was founded last year, is comprised of 44 labor unions spanning a wide variety of trades.

Medco Labor Coalition is a trademark of Medco Health Solutions.

About Medco

Medco Health Solutions, Inc. (NYSE: MHS) is the nation's leading pharmacy benefit manager based on its 2006 total net revenues of more than $42 billion. Medco's prescription drug benefit programs, covering one in five Americans, are designed to drive down the cost of pharmacy health care for private and public employers, health plans, labor unions and government agencies of all sizes, and for individuals served by the Medicare Part D Prescription Drug Program. Medco, the world's most advanced pharmacy(TM) has created Medco Therapeutic Resource Centers(R) that are staffed with hundreds of specialist pharmacists trained and certified in specific chronic and complex conditions and have expertise in the medications that treat them. Medco is the nation's largest diabetes pharmacy care practice based on covered lives with the 2007 acquisition of the Liberty Medical, and the largest specialty pharmacy based on net revenues with the 2005 acquisition of Accredo Health, Incorporated. Medco is the highest-ranked independent pharmacy benefit manager on the 2007 Fortune 500 list. On the Net:

SOURCE Medco Health Solutions, Inc.
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