GREAT FALLS, Mont. -- Buttrey Food & Drug Co. here has announced the signing of a five-year, exclusive distribution agreement with Cardinal Health, Dublin, Ohio.
Under the terms of the agreement, which took effect Aug. 1, Cardinal will provide Buttrey with "virtually all of our pharmacy supply," said Michael Roberts, pharmacy director at the 43-store chain.
Roberts could not say how many stockkeeping units were involved, but he said the average Buttrey pharmacy carried about 2,000 SKUs.
The deal does not include health and beauty care products, said Roberts, adding that "over-the-counter purchases are absolutely minimal -- as per customer need."
In a prepared statement, Cardinal said it expects to make about $160 million in pharmaceutical sales to Buttrey over the life of the contract.
McKesson Corp., San Francisco, had been Buttrey's exclusive supplier of pharmaceuticals.
"I won't bash McKesson," said Roberts. "But I felt the offerings Cardinal has are very significant. The partnership they're trying to create is very compelling."
Roberts cited Cardinal's pharmacy systems software, Renlar RxDP, and its exclusive marketing relationship with Elensys Care Services, Woburn, Mass., a company that develops medication compliance programs, as "real gains for Buttrey."
Buttrey will adopt the Renlar RxDP software and participate in Cardinal's ScriptLINE service, a centralized prescription transaction maintenance system.
Buttrey operates 30 pharmacies in stores across Montana, Wyoming and North Dakota. Its mail-order pharmacy service also will be supplied by Cardinal.