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Leading distributor of pharmaceuticals and medical supplies Cardinal Health (CAH) recently announced the Cardinal Health Pharmacy Scholarship Program of nearly $1 million to fund eight pharmacy schools across the country. The announcement underlines its commitment to support future pharmacists.

The eight pharmacy schools were selected on the basis of excellence and to encourage the independent pharmacy profession. The curriculum of these schools focuses on operating the independent pharmacy, to uphold student-run chapters of the National Community Pharmacists Association (NCPA) and accredit internships. These schools also exhibit a high number of placements for post-graduates in community pharmacy settings.

Cardinal Health Pharmacy Scholarship Program has already funded 20 universities with more than $2.1 million since its inception in June 2011. The universities were awarded scholarship funding ranging from $50,000 to $125,000.

Cardinal Health is ranked among Fortune 500 companies. With over $100 billion in annual sales, Cardinal Health remains one of the largest distributors of pharmaceuticals and medical supplies in the U.S. The company’s diversified product portfolio may partly insulate it from the current economic uncertainty.

The company stands to gain from the gradual shift in mix from bulk to the higher-margin non-bulk sector of the Pharmaceutical segment. It is also riding the generic wave. Overall, Cardinal benefits from a spate of tuck-in acquisitions and capital deployment strategies.

However, the company faces tough competition across all business segments, which may continue to pressure pricing and margins. Its major competitors in the pharmaceutical supply chain segment include McKesson Corp. (MCK - Analyst Report) and AmerisourceBergen Corp. (ABC - Analyst Report).

We have a long-term Neutral recommendation on Cardinal. The stock currently retains a Zacks #4 Rank, which translates into a short-term Sell rating.

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