United Drug to make €40m investment at Dublin headquarters

Pharmaceutical wholesaler to use funds to increase distribution by almost two-thirds

Pharmaceutical wholesaler United Drug has announced a €40 million investment in technology and innovation at its headquarters at Citywest in Dublin.

United Drug works with more than 1,800 pharmacies, hospitals, clinics and primary care centres across the country, and employs more than 650 staff across its four facilities in Citywest, Swords, Ballina and Limerick.

The company said on Monday the investment would increase distribution by almost two-thirds, with plans for further expansion over the next three years.

The investment will centre on enhancing systems and technologies at United Drug’s headquarters to further support the business in providing healthcare solutions to pharmacies.


Work on phase one of the investment – an upgrade of the company’s 300,000sq ft warehouse facility – has been completed. The company said the upgrades had “exceeded expectations”.

Phase two will involve an upgrade of the warehouse’s temperature control, or HVAC, system, as well as enhancements of its IT systems, including digital services and data analytics. This is expected to be completed by the end of 2017.

United Drug has also indicated its commitment to further expanding its capacity over the next three years.

Managing director Paul Reilly said the investment in technology was “critical” to maintaining operational and quality standards in terms of stock range, customer service and delivery.

Tightly scheduled

“At any one time, we have 30 million packs in our Dublin warehouse,” he said. “We run a huge operation that, for the more than 1,800 pharmacies we serve – many twice a day – it’s important that operations are as tightly scheduled and as efficient as possible to ensure that important medicines reach patients when they need them.

“Our systems are more technologically advanced than our competitors, and, despite the tough and challenging market we operate in, we will continue to invest and innovate so as to provide a sustainable healthcare platform for our customers and maintain our strong track record.

“That we have more than doubled our efficiency over the past two years, and are already seeing a return on this latest investment, means that our customers can continue to get the excellent service that they have come to expect from United Drug, and more.”

Last April, United Drug was acquired by McKesson Corporation. Currently ranked fifth on the Fortune 500, McKesson has more than 77,000 employees worldwide.

Colin Gleeson

Colin Gleeson

Colin Gleeson is an Irish Times reporter