Cash is king and chain drug is on an upswing
NEW YORK — The Motley Fool on Tuesday suggested all three national pureplay drug chains were in a better position today than five and three years ago based on a metric called the “cash king margin.”
The metric teases out the amount of free cash flow a company actually can use to monetize shareholder value by paying dividends or buying back stocks. Companies that can create cash king margins (calculated by dividing free cash flow by sales) of more than 10% are the most attractive to investors, the Fool surmised.
Today, Walgreens boasts the highest cash king margin of 4%, followed by CVS (2.7%) and Rite Aid (0.8%). That compares with 5.2%, 1.6% and -0.3% versus a year ago, respectively.
“CVS has offered us the kind of steady increase in cash king margins that we like to see,” the Fool wrote. “Walgreens has also increased its margins nicely from five years ago, but is down more than 1 percentage point from last year. Rite Aid has also grown its margins over the last three years, but its margins are still lower than 1%.”
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Smoking may be associated with increased risk of breast cancer
CHICAGO — Smoking before menopause, especially prior to giving birth, may be associated with a modest increase in the risk of developing breast cancer, according to a report in the Jan. 24 issue of Archives of Internal Medicine.
“Smoking before menopause was positively associated with breast cancer risk, and there were hints from our results that smoking after menopause might be associated with a slightly decreased breast cancer risk,” the authors suggested. “This difference suggests an antiestrogenic effect of smoking among postmenopausal women that may further reduce their already-low endogenous estrogen levels.”
Conversely, never smoking and passive smoking in childhood or adulthood were not associated with an increase in breast cancer risk. Exposure to parents who smoked while living in the same house, passive smoking while at work or at home and the number of years living with someone who smoked were not related to increased risk of breast cancer after adjusting for other possible factors.
CDC ups estimates of number of diabetics
ATLANTA — Nearly 26 million Americans have diabetes, according to new estimates from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released Wednesday.
In addition, an estimated 79 million U.S. adults have prediabetes, a condition in which blood sugar levels are higher than normal, but not high enough to be diagnosed as diabetes.
Diabetes impacts 8.3% of Americans of all ages, and 11.3% of adults ages 20 years and older, according to the National Diabetes Fact Sheet for 2011. About 27% of those with diabetes — 7 million Americans — do not know they have the disease, the CDC reported. Prediabetes affects 35% of adults ages 20 years and older.
"These distressing numbers show how important it is to prevent Type 2 diabetes and to help those who have diabetes manage the disease to prevent serious complications, such as kidney failure and blindness," stated Ann Albright, director of the CDC’s Division of Diabetes Translation. "We know that a structured lifestyle program that includes losing weight and increasing physical activity can prevent or delay Type 2 diabetes."
In 2008, the CDC estimated that 23.6 million Americans, or 7.8% of the population, had diabetes, and another 57 million adults had prediabetes. The 2011 estimates have increased for a number of reasons, the CDC contended, including the fact that many people are living longer with diabetes, which raises the total number of those with the disease. Better management of the disease is improving cardiovascular disease risk factors and also is reducing such complications as kidney failure and amputations, the agency stated.
In a study published last year, the CDC projected that as many as 1-in-3 U.S. adults could have diabetes by 2050 if current trends continue. Type 2 diabetes, in which the body gradually loses its ability to use and produce insulin, accounts for 90% to 95% of diabetes cases. An estimated 1.9 million Americans were diagnosed with diabetes in 2010.
Racial and ethnic minorities continue to have higher rates of diabetes after adjusting for population age differences. For adults, diabetes rates were 16.1% for American Indians/Alaska Natives, 12.6% for African-Americans, 11.8% for Hispanics, 8.4% for Asian-Americans and 7.1% for non-Hispanic whites.
Half of Americans aged 65 years and older have prediabetes, and nearly 27% have diabetes.