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Distribution solutions, technology solutions businesses aid McKesson’s Q2

BY Allison Cerra

SAN FRANCISCO — McKesson said its distribution solutions and technology solutions businesses helped drive the company’s operating results for the second quarter ended Sept. 30.

For its distribution solutions business, McKesson reported that revenue was up 10% to $29.4 billion. The increase, the wholesaler said, was primarily driven by growth in U.S. pharmaceutical direct distribution and services revenues (which rose to nearly $26 billion), as well as the acquisition of US Oncology, the company said.

Meanwhile, revenue rose 7% for the wholesaler’s technology solutions, from $770 million in second quarter 2010 to $825 million in this year’s second quarter. McKesson attributed the performance to "solid progress on achieving certain customer implementation milestones."

The achievements prompted the wholesaler to raise its full-year earnings forecast.

“I am pleased with McKesson’s second-quarter operating results, with strong execution from both distribution solutions and technology solutions driving earnings growth,” McKesson chairman and CEO John Hammergren said. “Based on the momentum from our first-half results, we are raising our previous outlook for the fiscal year and now expect adjusted earnings between $6.19 and $6.39 per diluted share for the fiscal year ending March 31, 2012.”

Overall revenue for McKesson rose from to $30.2 billion, reflecting a 10% increase from the year-ago period. Second-quarter earnings per share, however, dropped to $1.18 from $1.25 in the year-ago period. Net income also fell from $296 million to $327 million.

For its operating income, the company saw an increase of $61 million to $478 million, compared with the year-ago period.


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Coalition calls on consumers to ask Congress, FTC to oppose ESI-Medco merger

BY Antoinette Alexander

WASHINGTON — The Preserve Community Pharmacy Access NOW! coalition, which is a coalition of consumers, businesses and community-based pharmacists from across the country that have come together to oppose the planned mega-merger of Express Scripts and Medco Health Solutions, has issued a call to action to protect Americans from rising costs and decreased access to health care by stopping the planned merger of the PBMs.

The call to action, posted on the coalition’s website, outlines what it says are the negative impacts of approving the merger and calls on consumers to sign a petition that will be sent to the Federal Trade Commission and members of Congress opposing the merger. In addition, consumers are encouraged to send letters or make phone calls to their local representatives urging them to oppose the merger.

"Approving this merger — combining two of the nation’s largest PBM companies into a big, consolidated PBM with excessive control over the health care of tens of millions of Americans — would put quality care even further from reach of a general population already struggling. Such an outcome cannot be taken lightly," stated former Congresswoman Eva M. Clayton, chairwoman for the PCPAN coalition. "Americans cannot afford, now or ever, to have their healthcare costs and access to pharmacy services dictated by a mega-PBM that puts profits before people."

"Not all mergers are bad, but there is a reason that this particular one is the target of much scrutiny," added Dennis Archer, chief legal counsel for PCPAN, which is a project of Pharmacy Choice and Access Now. "The merger between Express Scripts and Medco would create a mega pharmacy benefit management company with excessive control and concentrated market share that could have serious implications for consumers and for U.S. health care in general. It should not be allowed to move forward."

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Radius broadens oral care portfolio with new DOC

BY Antoinette Alexander

KUTZTOWN, Pa. — This fall, Radius, a maker of specialty toothbrushes and complementary products, including toiletries’ travel cases and dental floss, is expanding its product portfolio with the new DOC multi-use suction toothbrush holder, which enables consumers to keep their toothbrush wherever they like, such as a shower wall, on the side of a bathroom mirror or upright next to the sink faucet.

The suction base works on any smooth and clean surface and also can be a convenient place to hold hand towels, razors, hairbrushes, kitchen spoons, sponges and iPods. The DOC uses EcoPure additives so that it is 100% biodegradable and recyclable.

Often equated with toothbrushes, Radius turned the category on its head by throwing out traditional toothbrush standards. Radius steered away from the thin stick handle shape, opting for a large handle that’s comfortable to hold and maneuver. They also vastly increased the size of the bristle head in an effort to make it easy to massage the gums while brushing and cover more surface of the mouth in a shorter amount of time.

The new DOC multi-use suction holder will be available in stores in November.

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