1,300 Jobs Lost After Kentucky Inaction

LOUISVILLE, KY - The City of Louisville may have lost 1,300 new high-paying jobs because state regulators didn't move quickly enough to accommodate mail-order pharmacy giant Medco Health Solutions, Louisville and state economic development officials said.

The Louisville Courier-Journal reports in its Saturday edition that the company announced Monday it had chosen central Indiana over Louisville for a $150 million automated mail-order pharmacy, despite $30 million in tax incentives that a Kentucky agency approved last month. Indiana offered about $18.5 million.

A key factor in that decision, according to economic-development officials, was the Kentucky Board of Pharmacy's failure to more quickly approve a regulation that would allow Medco pharmacists working in other states to review prescriptions shipped through Louisville, reports the C-J.

"It was a deal breaker," said Eileen Pickett, a senior vice president of Greater Louisville Inc., the metro chamber of commerce. "They can do business in Indiana today, and they can't in Kentucky, and that was a big part of the decision."

Economic-development officials and Medco representatives appeared at three consecutive meetings of the Kentucky pharmacy board, at which the board discussed the proposed regulation change but put off action.

A few weeks after the third meeting, New Jersey-based Medco said it had chosen Indiana and cited the state's entrepreneurial spirit and business-friendly environment, reports the newspaper.

"We needed the (pharmacy) board to act in a positive manner in order to land Medco," said John Hindman, secretary of the Kentucky Cabinet for Economic Development.

The executive director of the Kentucky Board of Pharmacy said revising the state regulation was a complicated task and the board wasn't aware of how quickly Medco wanted to act.

Yesterday, the board again considered a regulation change to accommodate automated pharmacy operations such as Medco's. But it deferred action until February to allow time to broaden the measure to include hospital pharmacies and other providers, writes the Courier-Journal.

Indiana's pharmacy board also met yesterday to consider a similar measure, and adopted it. While the rule wasn't in place when Medco made its decision, Indiana regulators had been moving toward the change.

Medco said its 300,000-square-foot center will be "the world's largest and most advanced automated pharmacy." The company has two similar centers in New Jersey and Nevada, which together dispense 2 million prescriptions a week.

Jobs at the new center, including pharmacists and pharmacy technicians, will pay an average of $53,000 a year. Wages are expected to range from $12 to $45 an hour, according to the Kentucky Economic Development Finance Authority, which approved tax incentives for Medco on Oct. 25.

copyright The Courier-Journal

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  • by Elaine Location: Pike County on Nov 20, 2007 at 10:46 AM
    Maybe I'm mistaken, but the very first sentence says "The City of Louisville may have lost...", etc.etc. Jack, Kimberly and Phil talk as though eastern KY has lost this business. Did I read this wrong??
  • by amazed Location: ky on Nov 20, 2007 at 10:09 AM
    I am amazed at all the good citizens below... You go on about and automated pharmacy and weeks before you were going on about how Ky is a pharmacy... Why don't you pick a fence sit still on one of the posts. You all jump over that fence so much I am surprised the seat of your pants are not torn to shreds... An to think Andy even blames it on the democrats... You have to be joking... Why does ky need another pharmacy yea maybe we need more employment opportunities but do we need a pharmacy that big to put us in the world news on a daily basis where some back woods idiot or come citified jerk trys to rob the place! Give me a break you all need to step back and stop blaming everyone and everything for Ky's down falls. I really want to ask if you want some Cheese to go with that constant "whine" you seem to have!
  • by Jack Location: Pike County on Nov 20, 2007 at 08:51 AM
    Well, what else did you expect from Eastern Kentucky, if it makes sense and would make a difference, let's make sure it don't happen. We needed the jobs.
  • by Jeb Location: KY on Nov 20, 2007 at 04:32 AM
    You can't "lose" something that you didn't already have. Headline should read "Kentucky's bids fall short in new employment possibilities" or something like that.
  • by Andy on Nov 20, 2007 at 04:11 AM
    I wonder what democrat this was going to hurt.Norm.we lose because of so called friends,that don't want new bis. to cut into thiers.We are at the mercy of these so called good democrats.
  • by Kimberly Location: Van Lear on Nov 19, 2007 at 05:12 PM
    How sad that RED TAPE prevents the citizens of KY from progressing. In this day and age, ANY community should be bending over backwards to accomodate REAL JOBS coming to their area. This is why Eastern KY will always be Eastern KY. Most of the educated, talented people leave to pursure a life.
  • by Mr. O Location: The Gambling Boat on Nov 19, 2007 at 10:17 AM
    First the casino boats and now this?! We're always one step behind. Well, at least we'll have our own casinos soon so we can lose what little money we do have in this state. Who knows maybe we can lure some buckeyes down here.
  • by Lisa Location: KY on Nov 18, 2007 at 09:40 PM
    Yahoo.....for Indiana! Kentucky can only kick itself for this one.
  • by Mike Location: Mt. Sterling, KY on Nov 17, 2007 at 02:31 PM
    The KY Board of Pharmacy really dragged their feet on this one. The revenue that Medco could have brought to KY, the board should have priortized Medco. Maybe the Board should be investigated in why they did not act faster. KY's lost and IND's gain
  • by Phil D Location: London,KY on Nov 17, 2007 at 09:37 AM
    "The executive director of the Kentucky Board of Pharmacy said revising the state regulation was a complicated task and the board wasn't aware of how quickly Medco wanted to act." Well who's job is it to find out? Don't they get paid for collecting all the details? Who governs this board? They all should seriously consider resigning if all they are going to do is sit there with their thumbs up their butts! I'm no genious, but I would have thought to ask them what the scope of Medcos plan entailed and the time frame they wanted to establish. It's people like this that keep this state from developing into a state that has a better promise of prosperity for all. There are other parts of this state to consider other than the "North" and other people to consider for employment as well. Maybe they are just to comfortable in their positions. I've only been here for six yrs. and I really haven't seen progression for employment opps. in the SE KY where large employers would be very welcome
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