The New York State Department of Civil Service has picked a unit of UnitedHealth Group Inc. to administer pharmacy benefits for state employees and employees of other public agencies that participate in the state’s Empire Plan.

The plan covers about 1 million people, according to UnitedHealth, Minnetonka, Minn.

The 4-year contract will take effect Jan. 1, 2008.

In other benefits contract news, the retirement arm of Prudential Financial Inc., Newark, N.J., has won a contract to provide defined contribution plan services for participants in the 401(k) plan sponsored by the Herb Chambers Cos., Somerville, Mass.

The plan has 500 participants with a total of about $35 million assets.

Chambers sells used cars.

The Bostonian Group Inc., Boston, helped Chambers selected a defined contribution plan provider, Prudential says.