Company:Cardinal Health

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American multinational health care services company
Cardinal Health, Inc.
Traded as
HeadquartersDublin, Ohio, U.S.
Area served
Key people
  • Michael Kaufmann
  • (CEO)
ProductsMedical and pharmaceutical products and services
RevenueIncrease US$152.92 billion (2020)[1]
Decrease US$1.77 billion (2020)[1]
Decrease US$-3.696 billion (2020)[1]
Total assetsIncrease US$40.96 billion (2020)[1]
Total equityIncrease US$6.33 billion (2020)[1]
Number of employees
~50,000 (2020)[1]

Cardinal Health, Inc. is an American multinational health care services company, and the 14th highest revenue generating company in the United States. Its headquarters are based in Dublin, Ohio and Dublin, Ireland (EMEA). The company specializes in the distribution of pharmaceuticals and medical products, serving more than 100,000 locations.[2] The company also manufactures medical and surgical products, including gloves, surgical apparel, and fluid management products. In addition, it operates the largest network of radiopharmacies in the U.S.[3] Cardinal Health provides medical products to over 75 percent of hospitals in the United States.[4][third-party source needed]


Founded in 1971 as Cardinal Foods by Robert D. Walter, the company was initially a food wholesaler. After acquiring the Bailey Drug Company in 1979, it began wholesaling drugs as Cardinal Distribution, Incorporated. The company went public on the NASDAQ stock exchange in 1983, and subsequently began a long string of acquisitions and mergers.

In 1988, Walter sold Cardinal Health's food operations to Roundy's.[5] From 1991 to 1996, the company's sales grew from $1.2 billion to $8.9 billion.[6] In a case study for Harvard Business Review, Mary Teagarden describes Cardinal Health in this period as "one of a handful of large U.S. companies that had achieved earnings-per-share growth in excess of 20 percent for 15 years straight."[7] The company changed its name to Cardinal Health in 1994, and became the third-largest pharmaceutical wholesaler in the United States.[5][8]

R. Kerry Clark, a former executive and vice chairman at Procter & Gamble, was appointed president and CEO in April 2006, with Robert D. Walter retaining Chairmanship of the board.[9] In September 2008, the company announced Clark and Walter would retire and George S. Barrett would become the chairman and CEO.[10][11]

Cardinal Health completed the spin-off of its clinical and medical products businesses into an independent medical technology company called CareFusion in 2009 with David Schlotterbeck as CEO.[12][13] Cardinal Health is now traded on the NYSE under symbol CAH.[14] As of August 2017, it is ranked 15 on the Fortune 500 list with FY2017 annual revenue of $121.5 billion. The firm employs 37,300 people worldwide.[15]

In December 2013, it was announced that Cardinal Health would team up with CVS Caremark to form the largest generic drug sourcing operation in the United States.[16] The venture was named Red Oak Sourcing and began operations in July 2014.[17]

In January 2018, Mike Kaufmann assumed the role of CEO after serving 30 years in a wide range of executive leadership positions within the company.[18]


In 1995, Medicine Shoppe International (St. Louis, est. 1970), the country's largest franchise of retail pharmacies, was acquired. The merger represented the first non-distribution acquisition by Cardinal Health.[19]

In 1996, Cardinal Health acquired Pyxis Corporation, a company that developed automated pill dispensers for hospitals, for $867 million.[20]

In a 1997 competition between Cardinal Health and McKesson Corporation, Cardinal Health planned to purchase Bergen, to which McKesson responded with a bid to purchase Amerisource. Instead, Amerisource and Bergen merged into AmerisourceBergen.[21] Later that year, Cardinal Health completed the acquisition of Owen Healthcare, the second-largest provider of pharmacy management services in the U.S. at the time.[22]

In 1999, the firm acquired the Chicago-based medical products manufacturer and distributor, Allegiance Healthcare (formerly a division of Baxter Healthcare). Allegiance made surgical drapes, gloves, and gowns, and distributed customized arrangements of medical supplies (called "custom sterile packs" and "procedure-based delivery systems").[23] During 2001, the company spent approximately $30 billion on acquisitions, including Bindley Western Industries, wholesale distributor of pharmaceuticals based in Indianapolis.[19]

In April 2006, Cardinal Health purchased Niagara Falls-based ParMed Pharmaceuticals for $40.1 million. ParMed's focus of selling medicine in smaller quantities complements Cardinal Health's distribution to bigger hospital and drug store chains. In June 2007, the firm announced the completion of a tender offer for VIASYS Healthcare.[24]

In June 2010, Cardinal Health announced plans to expand its presence in specialty pharmaceutical services with an agreement to purchase Healthcare Solutions Holding for $517 million.[25] In December 2010, the company acquired Kinray, one of the last independent pharmaceutical wholesalers in the United States, increasing Cardinal Health's presence in the independent pharmacy market by 40 percent.[26] Kinray had annual revenue of over $3.5 billion, and served about 2,000 independent retail pharmacy customers.[26] From 2010 to 2014, Cardinal Health acquired 18 companies including Yong Yu, a Chinese drug distributor. Cardinal Health teamed up with CVS to form Red Oak Sourcing, the largest generic drug sourcing operation in the United States, in July 2014, when the companies started buying generic drugs around the world to sell in U.S. markets.[4]

In March 2015, Cardinal Health signed an agreement to acquire Johnson & Johnson's Cordis (medical) division, a cardiology and endovascular device manufacturer, for $1.94 billion. Cordis' largest market is in the United States, but the manufacturer employs approximately 3,000 people around the world and 70 percent of its sales are international.[27][28] The acquisition was completed on October 4, 2015.[29]

In March 2015, Cardinal Health signed an agreement to acquire Tradex International, a Cleveland-based distributor of latex and other gloves used primarily in the health care and food service industries.[30]

In April 2017, Cardinal Health announced the plan to acquire leading patient product portfolio from Medtronic for $6.1 billion.[31] The acquisition was completed on July 30, 2017. The acquisition was funded with a combination of $4.5 billion in new senior unsecured notes, existing cash and borrowings under its existing credit arrangements.[32]


For the fiscal year 2017, Cardinal Health reported earnings of US$7.181 billion, with an annual revenue of US$136.809 billion, an increase of 5.3% over the previous fiscal cycle. Cardinal Health's shares traded at over $57 per share, and its market capitalization was valued at over US$15.4 billion in November 2018.[33] As of 2018, Cardinal Health is ranked #14 Fortune 500 among the largest United States corporations by total revenue.[34] In June, 2019, investor Michael Burry of Scion Asset Management (from "The Big Short") reported taking a position in the company.[35]

Year Revenue
in mil. USD$
Net income
in mil. USD$
Total Assets
in mil. USD$
Price per Share
in USD$
2005 72,666 4,460 21,838 33.48
2006 79,664 4,814 23,433 38.32
2007 86,755 5,197 23,154 38.62
2008 87,408 3,777 23,448 28.75
2009 95,992 3,748 25,119 21.10
2010 98,503 3,781 19,990 28.37
2011 102,644 4,162 22,846 35.90
2012 107,552 4,541 24,260 35.61
2013 101,093 4,921 25,819 45.20 33,600
2014 91,084 5,161 26,033 65.92 34,000
2015 102,531 5,712 30,142 79.39 34,500
2016 121,546 6,543 34,122 74.14 37,300
2017 129,976 6,544 40,112 69.22 40,400
2018 136,809 7,181 39,951 57.47 50,200



In September 2004, Cardinal Health announced to restate past results for fiscal 2001, 2002, 2003, and the first three quarters of 2004 downward, after an accounting review and an ongoing federal investigation. In 2005, in connection with the Audit Committee's conclusions reached in September and October 2004, the company made certain reclassification and restatement adjustments to its fiscal 2004 and prior historical consolidated financial statements.[36] According to The Wall Street Journal , "Analysts called the restatement decision troubling, yet limited in scope."[37]

FDA action

In August 2006, Cardinal Health ceased production of its Alaris SE infusion pump after approximately 1300 units were seized by the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA).[38] In February 2007, Cardinal Health signed a consent decree with the FDA which promised procedures to guarantee the safety of the Alaris SE.[12] After FDA inspections, Cardinal Health entered into a further consent agreement with the FDA in 2009.[12]

DEA investigation into Oxycodone diversion

In 2008, Cardinal Health agreed to pay $34 million in civil penalties to settle DEA allegations that it failed to report suspicious orders of hydrocodone. The fine followed a 10-month DEA suspension of a Lakeland, Florida distribution facility and two others in New Jersey and Washington.[39] On February 2, 2012, the Drug Enforcement Administration again suspended the license of the firm's Lakeland distribution center to distribute controlled substances on charges that it had allowed four Florida pharmacies to purchase excessive amounts of controlled substances, in particular oxycodone.[40]

Cardinal Health obtained a restraining order against the suspension, but the suspension was upheld on February 29 by a Federal district court because the court agreed with the DEA that Cardinal Health's activities represented an "imminent danger to the public."[41] The company stated that it blocked two of the pharmacies, (Brooks Pharmacy in Bonita Springs, Florida, and Gulf Coast Medical in Panama City, Florida), and notified the corporate owners of the two pharmacies that were part of national chains, two CVS stores in Sanford, Florida.[40]

In February 2012, Joseph Rannazzisi, chief of the Drug Enforcement Administration’s Office of Diversion Control, issued immediate suspension orders against Cardinal's supply of oxycodone to suspected pill mills.[42] Deputy Attorney General James M. Cole then called Rannazzisi to a meeting at Justice Department headquarters where Cole warned him “it made good sense to listen to what Cardinal had to say”.[42] Rannazzisi was fired from the drug diversion office in August 2015.[42] Cardinal was fined $44 million.[43]

Cardinal, alongside McKesson Corporation, and AmerisourceBergen, spent $13 million lobbying Congress to pass Congressman Tom Marino's "Ensuring Patient Access and Effective Drug Enforcement Act".[42] The bill, which increases the burden of proof enforcers need to show against drug distributors, was signed into law by President Barack Obama in April 2016.[44]

In May 2020, Oklahoma Attorney General Mike Hunter sued Cardinal Health in Bryan County District Court, Oklahoma. The lawsuit alleged that he company's actions helped fuel Oklahoma's opioid crisis. The suit was filed along with lawsuits against AmerisourceBergen and McKesson, and the three lawsuits allege that the three companies provided "enough opioids to Bryan County that every adult resident there could have had 144 hydrocodone tablets."[45]

Cardinal Health Foundation

The Cardinal Health Foundation is the charitable arm of Cardinal Health. The company makes annual product donations of over $9 million through international relief organizations and provides up to $1,000 in matching funds for every Cardinal Health employee that makes a charitable donation.[46] In 2008, the foundation established its E3 Grant Program.[47] Over the past seven years, the Foundation has invested more than $7.15 million in funding to 241 hospitals, health systems or other health-related organizations.[48]

Cardinal Health also supports organizations such as Ronald McDonald House Charities, and was named Benefactor of the Year at the 2011 Corporate Caring Awards.[46] In 2015, the foundation contributed $3 million to the Solutions for Patient Safety project, which has raised over $11 million nationally for efforts to improve safety initiatives in children's hospitals.[49]


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 1.5 "Form 10K". EDGAR SEC. August 10, 2018. 
  2. Wartenberg, Steve (February 28, 2015). "Cardinal Health moving some Dublin jobs to Philippines". The Columbus Dispatch. 
  3. "Who we are". {{[null Self-published source]|date=October 2017}}
  4. 4.0 4.1 Wartenberg, Steve (November 6, 2014). "Turnaround succeeding, Cardinal Health says". The Columbus Dispatch. 
  5. 5.0 5.1 "Executive Interview: Bob Walter". Journal of Healthcare Contracting. March 2005. 
  6. "The $9 Billion Company Nobody Knows". Bloomberg Business. March 2, 1997. 
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  8. Wankel, Charles (2009). Encyclopedia of Business in Today's World: A - C. 1. SAGE Publications. ISBN 9781412964272. Retrieved June 10, 2015. 
  9. "Walter steps down at Cardinal Health, P&G exec takes over". Columbus Business First. April 17, 2006. 
  10. Ghose, Carrie (October 6, 2008). "Next Cardinal Health CEO sees bright future after spinoff". Columbus Business First. 
  11. Wartenberg, Steve (May 19, 2013). "Cardinal Health's CEO uses background to think outside the box". The Columbus Dispatch. 
  12. 12.0 12.1 12.2 "Cardinal Health to name spinoff after CareFusion line". February 18, 2009. 
  13. Rhea, Shawn (September 2, 2009). "Cardinal Health completes CareFusion spinoff". Modern Healthcare. 
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  15. "Cardinal Health" (in en-US). 
  16. Berkrot, Bill (10 December 2013). "CVS, Cardinal Health form U.S. generic drug venture". Reuters. 
  17. Ghose, Carrie (May 1, 2014). "Cardinal Health, CVS generics venture Red Oak on track for July start". Columbus Business First. Retrieved June 13, 2018. 
  18. "Mike Kaufmann" (in en). 
  19. 19.0 19.1 "Cardinal Health, Inc. History". International Directory of Company Histories. 50. St. James Press. 2003. Retrieved June 10, 2015. 
  20. Freudenheim, Milt (February 8, 1996). "Cardinal Deal To Buy Pyxis In Stock Swap". The New York Times. 
  21. McKesson plans to buy rival Amerisource "Reuters", September 24, 1997, Accessed July 20, 2011.
  22. "Cardinal Health to Purchase Owen Healthcare". The New York Times. November 28, 1996. 
  23. Learning the business from the ground up: an interview with Steve Inacker DC Velocity Q & A
  24. "Cardinal Health acquires VIASYS for $1.5B". Healthcare IT News. May 14, 2007. 
  25. Taulli, Tom (June 9, 2010). "Cardinal Health Pays $517 Million for Obscure Specialty Pharma Firm". Daily Finance. 
  26. 26.0 26.1 Dinah Wisenberg Brin, "Cardinal Health to Purchase Kinray", The Wall Street Journal, November 19, 2010
  27. Wartenberg, Steve (March 3, 2015). "Cardinal Health to acquire Cordis for $1.9 billion". The Columbus Dispatch. 
  28. "Cardinal Health to Buy J&J's Heart Business for $1.94B". Fox Business. March 2, 2015. 
  29. Health, Cardinal. "Cardinal Health Completes Acquisition Of Cordis". 
  30. "Jones Day - Cardinal Health acquires Tradex International". 
  31. "Cardinal Health to Acquire Leading Patient Product Portfolio from Medtronic for $6.1 Billion" (in en-CA). 
  32. "Cardinal Health Completes Acquisition of Medtronic's Patient Recovery Business" (in en-CA). 
  33. "Cardinal Health Revenue 2006-2018 | CAH". 
  34. "Fortune 500 Companies 2018: Who Made the List" (in en-US). 
  35. "Scion Asset Management 13F Holdings" (in en-US). 
  36. "CARDINAL HEALTH INC - 10-Q Quarterly Report". 
  37. Burton, Thomas M. (September 14, 2004). "Cardinal Health to Restate Net, Citing Bulk-Revenue Accounting". The Wall Street Journal. 
  38. "Cardinal Health Suspends Production of Alaris SE Infusion Pump Following FDA Actions". Cardinal Health. August 28, 2006. 
  39. Schoenberg, Tom (2012-02-29). "Cardinal Health Blocked From Shipping Painkiller in Florida". Bloomberg. 
  40. 40.0 40.1 Donna Leinwand Leger "DEA aims big in Cardinal Health painkiller case" USA Today Feb 27, 2012 [1]
  41. Donna Leinwand Leger "Judge blocks Cardinal Health drug shipments in Fla." USA Today Deb 29, 2012 [2]
  42. 42.0 42.1 42.2 42.3 Lenny Bernstein; Scott Higham (22 October 2016). "Investigation: The DEA slowed enforcement while the opioid epidemic grew out of control". The Washington Post. 
  43. "Cardinal Health Announces Civil Settlement with DOJ". 
  44. S. 483, 114th Cong. (2015).
  45. Carey, Liz (2020-05-05). "Oklahoma Attorney General refiles opioid lawsuit against three distributors" (in en-US). 
  46. 46.0 46.1 Dutton, Melissa Kossler (April 13, 2011). "Benefactor of the Year: Cardinal Health Inc.". Columbus Business First. 
  47. "Cardinal Health Foundation invites healthcare providers to apply for grants to improve patient safety, efficiency". Healthcare Finance. October 13, 2011. 
  48. "Financial Statements for Cardinal Health, Inc. - Google Finance". 
  49. Sutherly, Ben (February 11, 2015). "Hospital safety initiative helps Ohio kids". The Columbus Dispatch. 

External links