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Medco Breaks Ground For World's Largest Automated Pharmacy

Medco's mail-order pharmacy in Boone County to house world class research center in country's Indianapolis region, an epicenter for life sciences Center aims to bring innovations of personalized medicine into mainstream


WHITESTOWN, Ind., March 11 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- Medco Health Solutions, Inc. (NYSE: MHS), joined by Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels, broke ground today on its $140 million automated pharmacy at AllPoints at Anson, and also announced plans to establish a world-class research center for personalized medicine within the pharmacy. The center will feature active collaborations between Medco, universities and the area's colleges of pharmacy to investigate how to deliver more precise pharmacy care through innovations in personalized medicine.

Medco President and Chief Operating Officer Kenneth O. Klepper announced the research center at the groundbreaking for the automated pharmacy, which will cover an area equivalent to six-and-a-half football fields. The mail-order pharmacy is expected to start operating early in 2009 and will be able to dispense one million prescriptions a week when it reaches peak capacity in 2012. Using the most advanced technologies, the automated pharmacy will exceed Six-Sigma(R) accuracy levels, delivering the highest level of prescription drug dispensing accuracy in the pharmacy industry.

The Personalized Medicine Research Center in the Anson pharmacy will provide a unique setting for leading academicians and Medco to evaluate ways to translate the latest science into improved pharmacy care. The research center's objective is to study -- in various combinations -- clinical drug data, genetic testing and medical claims data in ways that will lead to improved patient safety and clinical outcomes that will also help drive down overall health care costs.

"Central Indiana has a talented workforce that can spark innovative research to help make health care more precise -- leading to greater safety and efficacy," Klepper said. "The new automated pharmacy and this research center will be an integral part of making the region a hub for life sciences, including services, technologies and diagnostics. The proximity to leading colleges and universities, a great transportation infrastructure and business-friendly officials made this site a logical place for Medco to build this pharmacy and research center."

"Even before breaking ground, Medco decided to expand its enormous investment in Indiana. What an exciting bonus," said Daniels.

Medco's next-generation mail-order facility will employ 1,300 workers, including pharmacists, researchers, pharmacy technicians, engineering technologists and managers. The pharmacy's location and access to infrastructure will also expedite getting prescription medications to the patients served by Medco nationwide in a more cost-effective manner, which can further savings for customers, Klepper said.

Paving the Way to Personalized Medicine

The research center is the newest phase of Medco's initiatives into the realm of personalized medicine. Medco has partnered with clinical leaders to study the use of pharmacogenomics to advance pharmacy care, which is gaining in importance as more drugs list genetic information on their labels. Medco has been a proponent of pharmacogenomics as it holds great promise for improving the safety, quality and efficiency of health care. Genetic testing can prevent adverse drug events that lead to hospitalizations, disability and even death. And because not all patients respond to medication the same way, personalized medicine can also help improve health care efficiency by reducing waste associated with ineffective treatment.

Medco is currently collaborating with Mayo Clinic on a comprehensive community-based study of more than 1,000 patients taking warfarin. The study involves research on the use of pharmacogenomic testing for the proper dosing of warfarin, a blood thinner that is notoriously difficult to administer, and is evaluating savings from the safer use of this drug. In addition, Medco is immersed in a groundbreaking study examining how genetics can impact the effectiveness of the breast cancer drug tamoxifen.

"We envision that the Center will help bring personalized medicine into the mainstream of health care," said Dr. Robert S. Epstein, Medco's Chief Medical Officer. "The science in this area is 'popping' and Medco is leading the charge on translating this new science into clinical solutions on a national scale. This center will be a catalyst for change where researchers, fellows and students will work collaboratively, share ideas and take the practice of pharmacy care to the next level."

Medco has created a patient-focused pharmacy model that is unique to the industry with the use of specialist pharmacists at the Medco Therapeutic Resource Centers(R) which provide expertise in the care of different medical conditions, such as diabetes, asthma or high cholesterol. It is designed to help lower the overall cost of care by helping patients stay compliant on their medications while avoiding costly hospitalizations from harmful side effects that can occur through the use of prescription drugs.

"This facility represents an ideal combination of using the best capabilities of Medco with leading-edge academics to improve health care quality. We feel this facility could be a magnet to bring other innovators to Indiana and help the region's economy, while furthering innovations in pharmacy care," Klepper said. "This will have significant ramifications for improving the health of our members, the service we deliver to clients and the overall science of medicine."

About Medco

Medco Health Solutions, Inc., (NYSE: MHS) is the nation's leading pharmacy benefit manager based on its 2007 total net revenues of more than $44 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), is positioned to serve the unique needs of patients with chronic and complex conditions through its Medco Therapeutic Resource Centers(R); its diabetes pharmacy care practice, Liberty Medical; and its specialty pharmacy operation, Accredo Health Group, Inc. Medco is the highest-ranked independent pharmacy benefit manager on the 2007 Fortune 500 list. On the Net:

This press release contains "forward-looking statements" as that term is defined in the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. These statements involve risks and uncertainties that may cause results to differ materially from those set forth in the statements. No forward-looking statement can be guaranteed, and actual results may differ materially from those projected. We undertake no obligation to publicly update any forward-looking statement, whether as a result of new information, future events, or otherwise. Forward-looking statements in this press release should be evaluated together with the risks and uncertainties that affect our business, particularly those mentioned in the Risk Factors section of the Company's Annual Report on Form 10-K and Quarterly Reports on Form 10-Q filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission.

SOURCE Medco Health Solutions, Inc.
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