Controversial Story Offers New Estimate of USA Drug Revenue

OK, so everyone already knows that an investigative reporter working for Politico.com and ProPublica published an article last week questioning whether U.S. Rep. Mike Ross, D-Prescott, got a sweetheart deal when he and his wife sold their drugstore to the USA Drug chain in 2007.

We'll let the proper authorities sort that out. What fascinated us most was the estimate of USA Drug's 2008 revenue: $906 million.

That's a lot more than the $560 million estimate we used in our list of the state's largest private companies back in May. Given the complete lack of assistance we get from USA Drug (or, more precisely, Stephen LaFrance Pharmacy Inc.), we'd been using the same estimate from Drug Store News for the past four years.

The ProPublica reporter, Marcus Stern, said the estimate came from Racher Press, which is the publisher of Chain Drug Review. But Chain Drug Review's executive editor Geoff Walden says $906.7 million was actually the estimate for 2007. (Here's a PDF of the article.)

And 2008's estimate? That was $971.1 million, making USA Drug the 14th largest drug store chain on Chain Drug Review's current list

We have revised our private companies list (PDF) to place Stephen LaFrance Pharmacy at No. 7, up from No. 19 and just behind Arkansas Blue Cross & Blue Shield.