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Leading distributor of pharmaceuticals and medical supplies Cardinal Health (CAH - Analyst Report) recently revealed that, for the sixth straight year, it will provide grants to aid Puerto Rican, Canadian and U.S. healthcare facilities to improve the quality and efficiency of patient care. Till date, the Cardinal Health Foundation has handed out 190 grants aggregating over $5.25 million.

Applicants to the Cardinal Health Foundation E3 Grant Program are being asked to provide requests either for efforts that will enhance medication safety (especially as patients are shifted from inpatient facilities to their residence) or for endeavors that will enhance operating room precautionary measures in line with WHO guidelines.

Grant recipients engaged in medication safety efforts will be supported by specialists from the Cardinal Health Pharmacy Solutions Team. Recipients involved with surgical problems will be guided by experts from the Association of periOperative Registered Nurses (AORN).    

Prospective grant applicants may consult the AORN site for ideas regarding better practices. The Cardinal Health community site provides briefs of past proposals which were accepted.

As per concerned inpatient facilities, past grants have helped them to cut down on their mistakes. In fact, previous grant recipients have provided a return of 11 times the original investment by Cardinal Health Foundation.   

The Cardinal Health Foundation will host two web sessions on the subject on October 23 and October 26, 2012. Applicants must submit their proposals at the Cardinal Health community website by December 7, 2012.

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.

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