PHARMACY

Taro committee continues to evaluate Sun offer, Taro says

BY Alaric DeArment

HAIFA BAY, Israel — A committee formed by Taro Pharmaceutical Industries in December is continuing to evaluate an acquisition offer by India-based Sun Pharmaceutical Industries, Taro said.

Sun is hoping to acquire Israel-based Taro for $24.50 per share.

The committee, comprising members of the company’s board of directors, has brought on Citigroup Global Markets as its financial adviser and is receiving legal advice from Israeli legal firm Goldfarb Seligman & Co. and U.S. firm Willkie Farr & Gallagher.

Sun originally sought to buy Taro in May 2007 for $7.75 per share, and both companies agreed to merge, but Taro terminated the merger agreement in May 2008. Sun has continued trying to acquire Taro since then.


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PHARMACY

PCMA launches advertising campaign

BY Alaric DeArment

WASHINGTON — The main lobby representing pharmacy benefit managers is launching an advertising campaign amid scrutiny the industry has received lately from the public and lawmakers.

The Pharmaceutical Care Management Association announced Tuesday the launch of its new "That’s What PBMs Do" ad campaign, which includes print and video ads that focus on what the PCMA called PBMs’ role in reducing pharmacy costs, Medicare Part D and mail-order pharmacy.

"This ad campaign will educate policy-makers and opinion leaders about the important savings and safety benefits PBMs provide to more than 216 million Americans," PCMA president and CEO Mark Merritt said.

The campaign comes in the wake of bad publicity concerning the proposed $29.1 billion merger between PBM giants Medco Health Solutions and Express Scripts, which numerous consumer advocacy groups, as well as the National Association of Chain Drug Stores and the National Community Pharmacists Association have strongly opposed and which has attracted scrutiny from Congress. In December, four members of Congress — including the entire South Dakota congressional delegation and Rep. G.K. Butterfield, D-N.C., sent letters to Federal Trade Commission chairman Jon Leibowitz opposing the merger, followed last week by a letter to Leibowitz from a coalition of consumer advocacy groups, including the Consumer Federation of America, Community Catalyst, the National Consumers League, the National Legislative Association on Prescription Drug Prices and U.S. PIRG.

In addition, a contracting dispute between ESI and Walgreens and the chain’s subsequent exit from ESI has left millions of Walgreens customers unable to get their drugs and has prompted the chain’s competitors to try and draw them away. Some analysts say that a combined ESI and Medco could send even more customers to other retailers unless the Walgreens and ESI come to an agreement.


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Pfizer, Medivation to discontinue Dimebon development following late-stage trial results

BY Alaric DeArment

NEW YORK — A late-stage clinical trial to evaluate a drug in Alzheimer’s disease patients came up short, the drug’s developers said Tuesday, prompting them to cease its development.

Pfizer and Medivation announced results of the phase-3 "CONCERT" trial of Dimebon (latrepirdine), a trial that had lasted 12 months and enrolled 1,003 patients worldwide. The drug, which the companies have studied since 2009, was originally developed by Soviet Union scientists in the 1980s as an antihistamine.

The companies said that while the drug appeared safe, it showed no statistically significant improvement in Alzheimer’s disease symptoms. The two said they would discontinue development of the drug for all indications.

Previous studies of the drug have turned up similarly lackluster results. Last April, the companies cancelled the "HORIZON" trial after it failed to show significant improvement in patients with Huntington disease, while the drug also didn’t show a statistically significant improvement in Alzheimer’s patients in the 2010 "CONNECTION" trial.


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starson says:
Jan-18-2012 07:44 am

I was fascinated to discover that there's been research on saffron versus Aricept (donepezil). Check it out: http://nutritionfacts.org/videos/saffron-versus-aricept/. (noncommercial, science-based site) According to the findings, saffron works just as well (which isn't all that well, though better than placebo). And without the side effects.

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