HOUSTON-Familymeds Group Inc. is taking control of seven Houston-area clinic-oriented pharmacies, totaling about 7,000 sf and marking its first locations in this region.

The seller is Integrated Pharmacy Solutions, a wholly owned subsidiary of Aetna US Healthcare. The pharmacies are located in or near physicians’ offices, and hence are compact, often around 1,000 sf apiece.

The Houston pharmacies are located at 8100 Greenbriar, 11300 Harwin, 15700 Vickery Dr. and 1919 N. Loop West, Suite 2000. The Pasadena pharmacy at 4002 Burke Rd. is among those sold, as is Webster’s drug store at 17448 Highway 3, Suite 245. Also on the list is a Kingwood store at 1210 Kingwood Dr.

The buy-out includes stores in the new markets of Atlanta, Jacksonville and Orlando, FL, Tulsa and Oklahoma City, OK. The Houston purchase plus 31 other IPS pharmacies across the country boost Familymeds’ number of pharmacies to 156, more than double the number it operated one year ago, according to Ed Mercadante, R.Ph., founder and CEO of Familymeds.

“We are pleased to establish a presence in the Houston area,” Mercadante tells GlobeSt.com. Each of the pharmacies is located in a medical office building, providing an entry to more than 350 doctors who serve approximately 700,000 patients, he says. Operating pharmacies in such close proximity to physicians provides first access to customers at the point of care. Familymeds also owns stores in and around medical office buildings, clinics and hospitals.

“We believe that the future of retail pharmacy will be determined by relationships with the two primary influencers of the prescription medications,” Mercadante says. “Those influencers are the doctors who write the prescription and the insurance companies who pay for them. We believe the IPS acquisition strengthens Familymeds’ relationships with both of these key groups.”

Texas makes the 21st state in the company’s portfolio. Familymeds Group sells prescription medications, specialty pharmaceuticals and other health-care products through retail, on-line and mail-order pharmacies.

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