PHARMACY

AmerisourceBergen re-elects three board members, reaffirms fiscal 2010 outlook

BY Allison Cerra

PHILADELPHIA AmerisourceBergen stockholders re-elected three members of its board of directors during the pharmaceutical services company’s annual meeting held Friday.

Richard Gochnauer, Edward Hagenlocker and Henry McGee were confirmed as independent directors at the company. Gochnauer has been a board member at the company for nearly two years and is the president and CEO of United Stationers Inc. Hagenlocker, who has been a member of the board since the company’s inception, was director of AmeriSource Health for two years. McGee, a 6-year member of the board, has been president of HBO Home Entertainment since 1995.

The AmerisourceBergen board of directors is comprised of eight members, all of whom are independent directors, except president and CEO David Yost.

At the annual meeting, the company also reaffirmed its expectations for fiscal year 2010, stating that it expects its profits to be 12% to 17% higher than fiscal year 2009, with earnings per share ranging from $1.89 to $1.98. Earnings per share in 2009 totaled $1.69.

“Also unchanged are our key assumptions supporting this diluted earnings per share range, which are: revenue growth of between 7% and 8%; operating margin expansion in the low to mid single digit basis point range; and free cash flow in the range of $500 million to $575 million, which includes capital expenditures in the $140 million range,” Yost said. “Assumptions also include the expected repurchase of approximately $350 million of AmerisourceBergen common shares in fiscal 2010.”

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Bristol-Myers Squibb discusses pipeline with investors

BY Alaric DeArment

NEW YORK Aims of becoming a leader in biotechnology headlined a meeting Thursday between Bristol-Myers Squibb and investors as the drug maker highlighted a pipeline of late-stage and early-development drugs.

Like many big drug companies, Bristol has focused on beefing up its pipeline as it faces big patent expirations over the next few years, particularly for the anti-clotting drug Plavix (clopidogrel). The company has particularly high hopes for investigative compounds to treat Alzheimer’s disease and hepatitis C.

“I am fully confident in our ability to deliver on our three major strategic imperatives – driving our performance in the next few years, improving our earnings base in 2013 and sustaining growth in 2014 and beyond,” said Bristol president and COO Lamberto Andreotti, who will soon replace James Cornelius as CEO. “We have important strategic, operational and financial levers which will allow us to fully realize our potential as a biopharma leader, and to deliver on our near-term and long-term growth opportunities.”

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NCPA survey finds pharmacists helped customers weather the (winter) storm

BY Allison Cerra

ALEXANDRIA, Va. A recent survey by the National Community Pharmacists Association indicated that local pharmacists stepped up to the plate to make sure that patients’ healthcare needs were met during the 2009-2010 winter season.

NCPA polled 85 community pharmacies in 26 snow-plagued states over a seven-day period in February, while much of the East Coast was still digging out from snow storms and some areas braced for additional winter precipitation.

The survey findings reveal a deep commitment to continue serving patients despite the trying circumstances:

  • 79% managed to maintain normal business hours, with some pharmacies opening early or staying late as necessary. Some used generators to supply power and remain open. Others extended phone services to meet emergency needs
  • 36% expanded their pharmacy’s home delivery service area to accommodate additional patients. Sometimes this included traversing unplowed roads in four-wheel-drive vehicles or picking up groceries for homebound patients
  • 45% witnessed an increase in the number of patients needing emergency fills due to the lack of mail service. Meeting this need usually required either contacting the physician or a lengthy phone call to the insurance company or pharmacy benefit manager for an override. In other cases, pharmacists provided a short-term supply at no cost to the patient and without reimbursement to the community pharmacy.

“These community pharmacists truly stepped up when the patient need was greatest,” said Joseph Harmison, NCPA president. “That commitment is one reason why pharmacists are consistently among the public’s most-trusted professions.”

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