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Medco's Willingboro Automated Pharmacy: 500 Million Prescriptions and Counting

WILLINGBORO, N.J., April 1, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- Less than 10 years after dispensing its first prescription, Medco Health Solutions, Inc.'s (NYSE: MHS) fully automated pharmacy in Willingboro dispensed its 500 millionth prescription, securing its position as one of the world's largest pharmacies based upon the number of prescriptions filled.


"This milestone is significant because it demonstrates Medco's vast capabilities in delivering smarter medicine safely, conveniently and efficiently to our members' homes," said Kenny Klepper, Medco President and Chief Operating Officer. "The state-of-the-art technologies and clinical innovations we use at the Willingboro pharmacy, as well as our automated pharmacies in Las Vegas and Indiana, enable Medco pharmacists to focus on providing advanced pharmacy and clinical care, driving down healthcare costs and improving medication safety for Medco's 65 million members."

Dispensing prescriptions to all 50 states, the Willingboro pharmacy is also home to the Medco Immunology and HIV Therapeutic Resource Center® (TRC).  The Medco specialist pharmacists who work in this TRC provide patients who have complex medication regimens with highly personalized care designed to help improve and maintain health, enhance safety and help reduce costs. These specialist pharmacists are specifically trained in HIV and immunology, are aided by a fully wired and integrated data system, and are uniquely able to provide in-depth counseling to patients and address gaps in care that may be impacting their health.

High-Speed Accuracy

The Willingboro pharmacy can dispense more than one million prescriptions each week, and up to 99 percent of the orders processed are mailed out to patients within 48 hours after they are received at the pharmacy.  

"Achieving 500 million prescriptions is an important milestone, but what is even more impressive is the quality:  over the 500 million prescriptions dispensed, the pharmacy achieved a parts per million (PPM) error rate of 0.236, meaning that there was less than 1 error for every 4 million prescriptions dispensed.  That is more than 14 times better than six sigma, which is 3.4 PPM," said Barry Cesanek, RPh, Vice President of Professional Practice at the Willingboro Pharmacy. "This achievement can be attributed to the dedication of the more than 1,200 employees in Willingboro who constantly drive toward practical perfection."

Opened in August 2001, the Willingboro pharmacy – as well as Medco's two other fully automated pharmacies in Las Vegas and Whitestown, Ind. – use a proprietary, sophisticated computer system called the Pharmacy Automated Controller (PAC) to control all activities at the pharmacies.  The PAC customized server code contains more than 16,000 functions, more than 2,000 files and more than 1.7 million lines of code.

The Willingboro pharmacy uses more than 2.6 miles of conveyor to expedite prescriptions through its automated system including labeling, filling and packaging functions. The tablet and capsule dispensing process can produce over 10,000 bottles per hour. The bottles and caps are specially designed for Medco automated pharmacies, and contain features that make them safe for children, but also easier for older persons to grip and open. The carton dispensing system is capable of labeling, consolidating and packaging more than 1,200 prescriptions per hour for more than 250 different medications. The pharmacy prints customized literature packages for each prescription with the ability to print more than 1,024 pages per minute. 

About Medco

Medco Health Solutions, Inc. (NYSE: MHS) is pioneering the world's most advanced pharmacy® and its clinical research and innovations are part of Medco making medicine smarter™ for approximately 65 million members.

With more than 20,000 employees worldwide dedicated to improving patient health and reducing costs for a wide range of public and private sector clients, and 2010 revenues of nearly $66 billion, Medco ranks 35th on the Fortune 500 list and is named among the world's most innovative, most admired and most trustworthy companies. 

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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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