PHARMACY

AstraZeneca sells off Astra Tech to Dentsply

BY Allison Cerra

WILMINGTON, Del. — AstraZeneca announced that it is selling its Astra Tech business to a professional dental products company in a cash transaction valued at about $1.8 billion.

Dentsply will acquire Mölndal, Sweden-based Astra Tech, which focuses on dental and healthcare products, services and support. In 2010, Astra Tech recorded worldwide revenue of $535 million.

AstraZeneca noted that the transaction is anticipated to be completed during the second half of 2011.

“Following a comprehensive strategic review, we believe this transaction represents an excellent outcome for AstraZeneca shareholders," AstraZeneca CEO David Brennan said. "The high degree of interest and the competitive nature of this process is evidence of the value that the employees of Astra Tech have built in the marketplace. I want to thank them for their contribution and believe they are well placed to build upon this successful foundation under Dentsply’s ownership.”

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PHARMACY

Report: Walgreens CFO says company is ‘better’ without Express Scripts

BY Allison Cerra

NANTUCKET, Mass. — Walgreens CFO Wade Miquelon said that the chain’s decision to break its ties with pharmacy benefit manager Express Scripts was the best decision, according to a Reuters report.

Caling it a "principled stand," Miquelon, who spoke at the Jefferies 2011 Global Consumer Conference in Nantucket, Mass., on Thursday, said that "under any scenario of what Express Scripts is proposing … it’s much better for us to go it alone," Reuters reported.

As previously reported by Drug Store News, Walgreens no longer will participate in the Express Scripts network beginning Jan. 1, 2012, citing unsuccessful renewal negotiations. Express Scripts processes approximately 90 million prescriptions that are expected to be filled by Walgreens in fiscal 2011, representing approximately $5.3 billion in annual sales.

Analysts have theorized that the issues will be settled.

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Chris Noth tapped as ambassador for Ask.Screen.Know.

BY Allison Cerra

PRINCETON, N.J. — Novo Nordisk has teamed up with actor Chris Noth to underscore the importance of early diabetes screening and detection.

Noth will serve as an ambassador for the national education program Ask.Screen.Know., Novo Nordisk said. As an ambassador, Noth will encourage Americans ages 45 years or older to get tested for diabetes and talk to a healthcare professional about the risk factors through a public service announcement and online at AskScreenKnow.com.

"As reinforced by the latest [Centers for Disease Control] analysis, the diabetes epidemic will continue to be a serious public health issue if we do not make significant changes," Novo Nordisk global chief medical officer Alan Moses said. "The goal of Ask.Screen.Know. is to reduce the burden of diabetes by encouraging those who are at risk for Type 2 diabetes to get tested. If caught early, serious health complications can be prevented or delayed."

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