PHARMACY

Medco reports double-digit 2Q earnings increase

BY Alaric DeArment

FRANKLIN LAKES, N.J. Medco Health Solutions experienced a 34.2 percent increase in earnings per share for the second quarter of the year, the pharmacy benefit manager reported Thursday.

Medco earned 51 cents a share, compared to 38 cents during the same period last year. The increased earnings resulted from increased sales across the company, including Accredo Health Group.

“This quarter, Medco demonstrated that strong execution around fundamentals of our business on behalf of our customers continues to drive outstanding earnings performance for our shareholders,” Chairman and chief executive officer David Snow Jr. said. “Beyond the quarter, our business strategy fueled extremely strong sales results and industry-leading customer retention rates.”

Medco earned net revenues of more than $44 billion last year.

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PHARMACY

InstaClinic temporarily shuts down; in talks with potential partners

BY Drew Buono

ST. LOUIS Less than two years after opening, all four InstaClinic locations have closed, according to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.

Still, Schnuck Markets, which housed the clinics in its stores, and Patti Sohn, the nurse practitioner who launched them, say they might return.

Sohn described InstaClinic as “in transition” and “restructuring.” She said how many clinics open and their locations will “hinge on continued discussions with Schnucks and our other potential partners.” Sohn said, “Much depends on community need and the physical space available within the various Schnuck markets.”

Michael Juergensmeyer, Schnucks’ vice president of pharmacy, said Sohn, the chain and potential partners are in discussions. He said they’ve spoken with a potential partner interested in opening several clinics in Missouri and another with interest in opening clinics in Illinois.

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Merck, Schering-Plough end Claritin-Singulair combo partnership

BY Drew Buono

KENILWORTH and WHITEHOUSE STATION, N.J. Merck and Schering-Plough have withdrawn their application for a combined respiratory drug featuring Schering-Plough’s Claritin and Merck’s Singulair, according to Reuters. This ends an eight-year partnership between the two companies over the proposed drug.

In April, the Food and Drug Administration rejected the combination pill. Both drugs are allergy medications and the companies were hoping that the new combination pill would extend the lucrative franchises.

Claritin is now sold as an over-the-counter allergy treatment and generic versions are available, while asthma-and-allergy drug Singulair was Merck’s biggest-selling product last year with $4.3 billion in sales.

As a result of terminating the respiratory joint venture, Schering expects to receive $105 million from Merck, which Schering will recognize over the remaining three quarters of 2008.

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