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SXC, Catalyst announce merger as PBM market continues to consolidate

BY Michael Johnsen

LISLE, Ill. — SXC Health Solutions and Catalyst Health Solutions on Wednesday announced a merger agreement under which SXC and Catalyst will combine in a cash and stock transaction valued at approximately $4.4 billion. The announcement comes some three weeks after Express Scripts and Medco consummated their $29.1 billion merger.

The transaction will join SXC’s pharmacy benefit management tools, technology and expertise with Catalyst’s local and collaborative client-centric PBM business model, creating a leading independent provider of PBM solutions, the companies stated. “This is an extremely compelling combination that brings together SXC’s industry-leading tools and technology with Catalyst’s full-service PBM, best-in-class service and growing client base to create a company that is even better positioned to compete in the marketplace,” stated Mark Thierer, chairman and CEO of SXC, who will continue in that role in the combined company.

Shareholders from both companies still need to approve the deal. If they do, SXC shareholders would own about 65% of the combined company, and Catalyst shareholders would own about 35%.

Upon completion of the transaction, the combined company will represent $13 billion in revenue. The combined company will cover approximately 25 million members, with annual prescription volume of more than 200 million adjusted PBM scripts.

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Cardinal Health Foundation kicks off annual grant program

BY Allison Cerra

DUBLIN, Ohio — The charitable arm of Cardinal Health is inviting nonprofit organizations to apply for grant funding to support local efforts to prevent the abuse and misuse of prescription medications.

The Cardinal Health Foundation said its grant program is intended to reduce the misuse or abuse of prescription medications by youth, adults and the elderly and will fund nonprofits in the United States and Puerto Rico that aim to increase awareness of the prescription drug abuse issue; increase knowledge of how to reduce access to prescription drugs and proper disposal and increase awareness of the consequences of misusing or abusing prescription medications. The grant allocations range from $5,000 to $15,000.

"This grant funding will empower grassroots initiatives to raise awareness of the dangers of prescription drug misuse and abuse to a variety of audiences, so we can stop this deadly activity before it starts," said Jessica Lineberger, community relations manager for Cardinal Health.

Interested applicants are encouraged to visit Cardinalhealth.com/community. The deadline for applications is May 11.


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Patients dig the long ball

BY Michael Johnsen

WHAT IT MEANS AND WHY IT’S IMPORTANT — Once the season starts, nobody really remembers the number of stolen bases nabbed by Gregor Blanco (13) or the number of batters who could neither put a Francisco Liriano pitch into play nor tease out a walk (33). But ask the fans how many balls their favorite player knocked out of the park through spring training, chances are they’ll be able to tell you.

What Lilly Diabetes and Walgreens are doing is out-of-the-park stuff, where a Walgreens pharmacist dedicated to fielding questions across all disciplines will help augment a diabetes patient’s experience with a deeper look into hypoglycemia.

(THE NEWS: Walgreens, Lilly Diabetes partner on hypoglycemia education. For the full story, click here.)

These kinds of consultations will play out across only those 43 Indianapolis-area Walgreens at first, but soon enough this program will be implemented across the chain. And it might just have more impact — driving greater cost savings and better health outcomes — over time.

That’s because the program will build upon that patient-pharmacist interaction not out of some need to materially drive compliance and improve outcomes — all of that will come organically — but out of an enhanced experience as defined by the patient. It’s that kind of personal focus on that patient and the incorporation of how that patient chooses to engage with an intervention like this that will augment the program’s success. Going after customer feedback will be a homerun for those patients, and patients dig the long ball.

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