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Independent pharmacists conduct more than 500 meetings with legislators on the Hill

BY Michael Johnsen

ALEXANDRIA, Va.  — More than 300 independent community pharmacists from across the country met in Washington, D.C., at the Hyatt Regency on Capitol Hill Wednesday for the 2013 National Community Pharmacists Association Conference on Legislation and Government Affairs. The pharmacists conducted more than 500 meetings with congressional offices.

“Independent community pharmacists play a critical role in improving patient outcomes and reducing costs,” stated Douglas Hoey, NCPA CEO. “However, those efforts can be undermined by the decisions made in Washington and in state capitals across the country. NCPA’s Legislative Conference is the perfect venue to give independent community pharmacists the megaphone they need to tell Congress why pro-pharmacist legislation is pro-patient and ultimately the right thing to do for the constituents they represent," he said. "This year the megaphone grew louder, because independent community pharmacists also advocated for change from outside the confines of Washington over a more extended period of time.”

Rep. Tom Marino, R-Pa., kicked off the conference by addressing the members at the opening luncheon. Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers, R-Wash., House Republican Conference Chairman, addressed the membership at the general session. Panels discussed the implementation of the Affordable Care Act as well as insiders’ perspective from congressional staff on general health care and pharmacy issues.

“Based on the feedback we have received from attendees, this year’s Legislative Conference and accompanying Community Pharmacy Advocacy Weeks have been a huge success,” Hoey said. “The 113th U.S. Congress is only a few months old, so now is the time to educate elected officials about the problems we face and propose remedies to fix them. The response to those efforts was very positive.”

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McKesson posts annual revenues of $122.5 billion, reports strong cash flow for new fiscal year

BY Michael Johnsen

SAN FRANCISCO — McKesson on Tuesday reported fiscal year revenues of $122.5 billion, relatively flat as compared with the prior fiscal year. Full-year adjusted earnings per diluted share was $6.33, compared to $6.38 in the prior year.

“We took important strategic and operational actions during the quarter, and while these actions impacted our fourth-quarter financial results, I believe they leave the company well-positioned for continued success going forward,” stated John Hammergren, chairman and CEO of McKesson. “Turning to our operating results, I am pleased with the strong performance of our distribution solutions segment in the fourth quarter, which capped off another outstanding year in the segment. In addition to the strong operating performance in our distribution solutions segment, we had another great year of cash flow performance and deployed a record level of capital for acquisitions and share repurchases, creating further value for our shareholders.”

During the fourth quarter, McKesson completed the acquisition of PSS World Medical. Also during the fourth quarter, McKesson repurchased $800 million of its common stock.  

For the year, McKesson generated cash from operations of $2.5 billion, and ended the year with cash and cash equivalents of $2.5 billion and a gross debt-to-capital ratio of 40.8%.  During the year, McKesson spent $1.9 billion on acquisitions, repurchased $1.2 billion of its common stock, paid $194 million in dividends, and had internal capital spending of $406 million. 

“The strength of our balance sheet and cash flow performance continue to provide opportunities to create value for our shareholders through our portfolio approach to capital deployment,” Hammergren added. “In the fourth quarter we completed the acquisition of PSS and have begun the process of bringing together the best of our combined businesses to help our customers improve efficiency and deliver better care to their patients. In addition, our strong cash flow allowed us to repurchase shares of common stock valued at more than $1.2 billion in Fiscal 2013. We plan to continue our portfolio approach to capital deployment with a mix of acquisitions, share repurchases, dividends and internal investments.” 

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Takeda to acquire Colo. maker of vaccines for tropical diseases

BY Alaric DeArment

DEERFIELD, Ill. — Japanese drug maker Takeda Pharmaceutical Co. will buy Fort Collins, Colo.-based vaccine maker Inviragen for up to $250 million, the two companies said Wednesday.

Takeda will pay $35 million upfront for Inviragen, plus future milestone payments of up to $215 million based on progress made in the development of the company’s products. Inviragen develops vaccines for such diseases as dengue fever and hand, foot and mouth disease, and operates facilities in Fort Collins, Madison, Wis., and Singapore. The company’s lead candidate, the dengue vaccine DENvax, is in mid-stage clinical development. A vaccine for hand, foot and mouth disease caused by enterovirus is in early-stage development, while one for chikungunya is in preclinical development.

"Takeda has taken another major step toward its goal of establishing a world-class global vaccine business by acquiring Inviragen and its advanced vaccine candidate against dengue, a serious mosquito-borne illness that threatens nearly half of the world’s population," Takeda Vaccine Business Division EVP Rajeev Venkayya said. "Today’s announcement reinforces Takeda’s commitment to develop innovative vaccines to fight some of the world’s most important infectious diseases."

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