PHARMACY

Medco to buy PolyMedica; PBM to capture larger share of diabetes market

BY Drew Buono

FRANKLIN LAKES, N.J. Medco Health Solutions, the pharmacy benefits manager has agreed to buy PolyMedica for about $1.5 billion, including the assumption of $213 million in PolyMedica debt. PolyMedica is a diabetes product supplier that sells the supplies under the brand name Liberty.

Medco will pay $53 per share for the company under the deal, a 17 percent jump from its closing price on Monday, which was $45.29. The purchase is the biggest one specifically in diabetes. 15 percent of drug spending, according to Medco, which cited the American Diabetes Association, comes from diabetes patients, who only make up 5 percent of the U.S. population.

As one of the top three pharmacy benefit managers, Medco’s purchase of PolyMedica will help it better control costs and keep diabetics from developing complications by providing the supplies needed to monitor and the medications to control their diabetes.

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BlueCross/BlueShield of Oregon introduces new generics program

BY Drew Buono

PORTLAND, Ore. Regence BlueCross BlueShield of Oregon has introduced a new program called Generics First Antidepressant Program, to help battle rising healthcare costs.

The program encourages the use of high-quality antidepressant generic medications. Since the company believes generics can meet the needs of most patients, brand-name drugs will require a prior authorization beginning in September. This though, does not necessarily mean that people already on brand-name medications will need a prior authorization.

Prices could result as follows, a 30-day supply of a generic could be $30 compared to a brand-name drug, which could cost $83. “These generics are a good value for members and are available without prior authorization,” said David Clark, vice president of Medical Services and Pharmacy for Regence.

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AmerisourceBergen opens Orlando DC after deal with FDA

BY Adam Kraemer

VALLEY FORGE, Pa. AmerisourceBergen Corp. announced that on August 25, 2007 the Drug Enforcement Administration reinstated AmerisourceBergen’s license for its Orlando Distribution Center to distribute controlled substances. The distribution center immediately resumed shipment of controlled substances to its customers.

The license was suspended in April 2007 because the DEA alleged that the distribution center had not maintained effective controls against diversion of controlled substances by retail Internet pharmacies. During the suspension, the company was able to provide the products to its customers from another distribution center.

Due to the suspension, AmerisourceBergen implemented an enhanced and more sophisticated order-monitoring program in all of its distribution centers starting July 1, 2007, The company has since passed several DEA inspections of the new program. AmerisourceBergen said that it expects the new order monitoring program to quickly become the industry standard, as it requires more rapid identification and daily reporting of orders that may indicate diversion of controlled substances, and, in some instances, may even require halting a shipment of orders to further investigate. The monitoring program also requires a more rigorous examination process before the delivery of controlled substances to newly signed customers.

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