The Burlington County Times has reported that one of the largest employers in the county has announced that it will be shedding 102 jobs at its Medco Health Solutions plant on Millenium Drive.
A spokesman for Express Scripts, the company that acquired Medco in April, said that some of the employees losing their jobs were given severance packages and relieved of their duties as of November 29. The spokesman, Brian Henry, said that the rest of the employees will leave their jobs at a later date. The deal to acquire Medco by Express Scripts was for $29.1 billion.
“After the merger, we assessed the operational needs, and we wanted to make sure we are as efficient as possible,” Henry said.
Henry did not offer any insight at all into the possibility of the plant closing completely. “We remain committed to Willingboro,” he said. “We believe the pharmacy there is part of our network that we offer and we have a highly skilled workforce there.”
Despite the layoffs, close to 1,100 employees are still employed at the plant, which puts the plant as one of the largest employers in the area. On the East Coast, the plant is the largest automated mail-service pharmacy and can dispense over one million prescriptions each week. The plant, which is 320,000 square feet, opened its doors in 2001 in the Willingboro Towne Center.
This past spring, Express Scripts, which is headquartered in St. Louis, finalized its deal to acquire Medco Health Solutions, which is headquartered in Franklin Lakes. The acquisition of Medco Health Solutions by Express Scripts created the largest pharmacy benefits management company in the United States. Both companies are wholly owned subsidiaries of Express Scripts Holding Co.
Even though the deal was fought by drugstores and community pharmacists, the Federal Trade Commission approved the acquisition of Medco by Express Scripts. During the approval process, Express Scripts made claims that the acquisition of Medco would help lower costs and offer better care for patients.
The merger created a company that will handle the prescriptions of over 135 million people, which is good for one in three Americans. This is not the first time that layoffs at the plant in Willingboro have occurred. So far, since the merger was approved, over 300 workers in New Jersey have been cut from Medco’s main location in Franklin Lakes. Earlier in 2012, another 33 jobs were lost at the Willingboro location.
Henry noted that there were currently 3,500 employees in the state of New Jersey despite the layoffs and that the company posted over 100 new jobs across the state.
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