Birth of a giant? Time will tell us if it's the right Rx

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James M. Berklan, Editor
James M. Berklan, Editor

Not all association conventions are remembered equally. Some have dynamite entertainment, some a few great speakers. Often, it doesn't go much beyond that.

There was, however, plenty to see at the annual American Health Care Association annual meeting and expo in early October. I'm not referring to just the vendor exec in a full “Cat in the Hat” costume or the not-unattractive ladies walking the exhibits floor in skimpy, glittery cheerleader uniforms for some company.

But everything else aside, one of the most intriguing things was the coming-out party for AlixaRx, a pharmaceutical services company created by the owner of the Golden Living nursing home chain. Just another product or service launch? Hardly. 

By the end of next year, company officials figure they'll be recording about $250 million in business annually — and that's just with Golden Living's 302 facilities in the fold. The Golden/AlixaRx compact expects to attract hundreds of, if not several thousand, additional operators.

The biggest loser in this figures to be PharMerica, which will see its contracts with Golden Living evaporate. While Omnicare is the 800-pound gorilla of nursing home pharmacies, PharMerica has been No. 2. AlixaRx, however, has a goal of securing 20% of the market within five years.

Normally, this type of forecast could be written off as hyper-cool marketing spin. Given the guy at the top of the AlixaRx ladder, however, I'd be inclined to say watch the mercury rise.

Ron Silva is the CEO and president of the private investment group Fillmore Capital Partners. He's the exec who gave the go-ahead on this start-up venture a little over four years ago.

He's also the one who swooped out of nowhere to snatch the nursing home chain then known as Beverly Enterprises out of the claws of Arnie Whitman and his partners at Formation Capital after they had resorted to a hostile-takeover attempt in 2006.

While Silva has not always had everything go his way (Whitman later prevailed in a bidding battle for Genesis HealthCare), he has more than proven his long-term care mettle.

I'd venture his latest new offering could be an interesting one for a while to come — with or without anyone prancing around in heavy lipstick, tight shorts and an overburdened halter top.

Follow more from Berklan on Twitter @LTCEditorsDesk.

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