PHARMACY

Advocate, Aurora health systems to merge

BY David Salazar

Two Midwestern nonprofit health systems are coming together to create what they say will be the 10th largest nonprofit integrated healthcare system in the country. Chicago-based Advocate Health Care and Aurora Health Care, which is based in Milwaukee, Wis. And is the parent company of Aurora Pharmacy, announced their plans to merge earlier this week. The combined company will be called Advocate Aurora Health, and serve nearly 3 million patients, the companies said.

“This merger is about transforming care delivery and reimagining the possibilities of health as bigger meets better and size meets value to benefit consumers,” Advocate president and CEO Jim Skogsbergh said. “By joining forces, we will be able to expand our network to scale innovation and create a destination in the Midwest for patients and the talented clinicians who care for them.”

The merger, which has been approved by the companies’ boards of directors, will see the combined company operating 27 hospitals, more than 500 sites of care, roughly 3,300 physicians and nearly 70,000 associates and care givers, the companies said.

“For the communities in Illinois and Wisconsin that we serve and for our two organizations, this is an unprecedented opportunity to shape our future and better serve patients,” Aurora president and CEO Nick Turkal said. “We are fortunate that our organizations are coming together from unique and complementary positions of strength, particularly at a time of evolving industry dynamics. Working together, we will deliver on the promise of value for the people who receive, provide and pay for health care.”

As part of the plan, the combined company’s board of directors will be equally made up of Aurora and Advocate board members with Skogsbergh and Turkal as co-CEOs.
 

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Rite Aid advises consumers get their flu shot in first Facebook live event

BY Michael Johnsen

Rite Aid on Thursday hosted its first-ever flu-focused Facebook live event featuring health expert Jennifer Caudle and Rite Aid certified immunizing pharmacist Chris Altman that as of the next day had been viewed more than 3,000 times.

The Facebook live event stressed to consumers the importance of getting their flu shots this holiday season, and that Rite Aid makes that errand as easy and convenient as possible.

"Unless you want to run the risk of getting the gift of the flu this holiday season, it's important to get our flu shots and encourage our families to do that, too," Caudle, a nationally renowned health expert and practicing family physician, shared with viewers. Both Caudle and Altman fielded call-in questions during the live webcast, which was announced earlier this week.

This year, Camp Hill, Pa.-based Rite Aid is offering three types of flu vaccines: a quadrivalent flu vaccine which offers protection against four strains of the flu; the standard trivalent vaccine; and FLUAD, a trivalent vaccine with adjuvant, an ingredient that helps create a stronger immune response to vaccination, which is approved for people 65 years old and older.

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KKR and WBA close PharMerica deal

BY Michael Johnsen

Investment firm KKR and minority investor Walgreens Boots Alliance, based in Deerfield, Ill., on Thursday closed its acquisition of PharMerica, a provider of specialty pharmacy services.

The deal, first announced in August, was closed ahead of schedule. The all-cash transaction is valued at roughly $1.4 billion and will make PharMerica a private company. In connection with the completion of the acquisition, shares of PharMerica’s common stock will cease trading on the NYSE prior to the opening of the NYSE on Dec. 8, 2017.

“This is an opportunity to expand into a growing segment, and to do so through a national footprint,” Walgreens Boots Alliance co-COO Alex Gourlay reported in August. “As the healthcare landscape and patients’ needs continue to change, this is another way we can support quality, affordable patient care.”

PharMerica serves the long-term care, hospital pharmacy management services, specialty home infusion and oncology pharmacy markets through 96 institutional pharmacies, 20 specialty home infusion pharmacies and five specialty oncology pharmacies in 45 states.

UBS Investment Bank and BofA Merrill Lynch served as financial advisors to PharMerica and Davis Polk & Wardwell served as PharMerica’s legal advisor. Simpson Thacher & Bartlett and Weil, Gotshal & Manges served as legal advisors to KKR and Walgreens Boots Alliance, respectively.

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