PHARMACY

Drugstore.com, BioScrip complete pharmacy agreement

BY Michael Johnsen

BELLEVUE, Wash. Drugstore.com on Monday announced the completion of the assets sale of its DS Pharmacy subsidiary to BioScrip Pharmacy Services for approximately $10.5 million. The deal closed July 30.

Through a strategic partnership, BioScrip has started providing pharmacy services to Drugstore.com customers. Customers will be able to continue to order and refill their prescriptions through the Drugstore.com website and will benefit from an expanded specialty pharmacy product offering, clinical resources and greater access to third-party-insurance reimbursement, including Medicare.

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Merck discloses Q2 earnings

BY Alaric DeArment

WHITEHOUSE STATION, N.J. Merck had global sales of $11.3 billion and profits of $752 million during second quarter 2010, according to an earnings report the drug maker released Friday. Sales and profits for the first six months of the year were $22.8 billion and $1.05 billion, respectively.

Those numbers compared with sales and profits of $5.9 billion and $1.6 billion in second quarter 2009, and $11.3 billion and $2.9 billion for the first six months of 2009. The changes reflect Merck’s purchase of Schering-Plough.

Several of Merck’s products had strong global sales during the period. The autoimmune disease drug Remicade (infliximab) had sales of $669 million during the quarter, while Merck also launched the once-monthly autoimmune treatment Simponi (golimumab). The cardiovascular drugs Zetia (ezetimibe) and Vytorin (ezetimibe and simvastatin) had sales of $564 million and $490 million, respectively. The Type 2 diabetes drug Januvia (sitagliptin) had $600 million in sales during second quarter 2010, a 30% increase over second quarter 2009 sales, while Janumet (sitagliptin and metformin hydrochloride) had sales of $218 million. The HIV drug Isentress (raltegravir) had sales of $267 million, a 55% increase over second quarter 2009, while the hepatitis C drug Pegintron (peginterferon alfa-2b) had sales of $185 million.

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Online pharmacy provider, advocacy group partner to deliver low-cost meds in Ohio

BY Jim Frederick

CINCINNATI A nonprofit health advocacy group in Ohio has teamed up with a fast-growing mail-order pharmacy to launch a new and potentially expandable program to provide low-cost prescription drugs to underserved residents in southwest Ohio.

The new effort comes from Health Care Access Now, an Ohio nonprofit set up to healthcare access and delivery to lower-income and elderly residents of greater Cincinnati, and HealthWarehouse.com, Inc., an VIPPS-certified online mail-order prescription provider. Residents who qualify for the program will be able to purchase 300 medications for $3.50, with free delivery to their home or apartment.

The partnership will target 20 counties in southwest Ohio, northern Kentucky and southeastern Indiana, with a combined population of 2.2 million people. Health Care Access Now estimates that roughly 11% of the region’s population lacks access to a regular healthcare provider, and to affordable options for their medications.

“Like many areas in the United States, over the last 24 months Cincinnati has seen an increase in the number of individuals who have lost health-insurance benefits or can no longer afford co-pays for medications,” noted HealthWarehouse in a statement. The company said it will make prescription and over-the-counter medications available to metro Cincinnati residents “through a variety of care coordination community-based healthcare providers.”

Judith Warren, executive director of Health Care Access Now, noted, “Nonprofit health providers are always in need of support … this partnership supports our mutual goal of expanding resources to serve more communities.”

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