Stericycle unloads its reverse-distribution business to Pharma Logistics

Action expands Pharma Logistics’ leadership in servicing independent pharmacies


Effective immediately, reverse logistics (generally for pharma returns) customers of Stericycle will be serviced by Pharma Logistics, with boxed products being shunted to the latter’s Libertyville, IL, facility, recently opened. Reverse-logistics companies also provide pickup services, such as at hospitals or large wholesale facilities; Pharma Logistics will work with them to ensure a smooth transition.

“The strategic acquisition of Stericycle’s pharmaceutical reverse distribution division will further strengthen our position as the leader in the independent retail market,” said Michael Zaccaro, Pharma Logistics CEO. “Our Rapid Credit Program will continue to accelerate much needed cash flow for these pharmacies while also providing them with safe and effective pharmaceutical disposal options.”

Reverse-logistics is a $13-billion business in the US, according to a 2018 HDA report. In general, pharmacies return overstock or about-to-expire products to their wholesale suppliers; they, in turn, determine which products can go back into distribution, and which need to be disposed. Reverse-logistics providers collect the disposed products (or, in some cases, collect products directly from retailers) and then manage the credits that the retailers are entitled to. Ultimate disposal sometimes involves sending the products to industrial incinerators, since many of them are regulated as hazardous wastes. More recently, reverse-logistics providers have been key players in take-back programs, where consumers return unused products for safe disposal (coincidentally, DEA announced at the end of October that it had helped collect 442 tons of turned-in product).