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U.K. deal-maker Stefano Pessina confident in profitable 2013-2014 for Alliance Boots

BY Michael Johnsen

Alliance Boots posted a double-digit adjusted profit gain of 12.7% to $1.2 billion for its year ended March 31. Almost half of that profit is staked by Walgreens with its 45% share of the European pharmaceutical distributing powerhouse. 

A couple days later, Alliance Boots along with Walgreens and AmerisourceBergen announced the necessary regulatory clearances on that strategic partnership, cementing the three companies in place as the largest generic pharmaceutical acquisition company in the world. That deal will further enable the companies to realize greater profit margins. 

That’s one of the reasons behind the confidence expressed by Alliance Boots executive director Stefano Pessina. Worldwide, there will continue to be pressure on respective economies. Because both actual healthcare costs and the cost to manage that health care will likely continue to rise, that places Walgreens/Boots/ABC in the catbird seat as potentially the lowest-cost provider. 

It’s not just a larger pharmaceutical distribution engine that will help move Alliance Boots’ actual profit higher. Like Walgreens in the U.S., Boots is looking to expand its patient services at the ground level through its U.K. pharmacy. Earlier this year, Alliance Boots extended its hearing care partnership with Sonova through a 49% minority investment in its U.K. subsidiary that operates Boots hearing care practices across the U.K. 

And the company’s healthy cash flow and access to funding will further help Alliance Boots target additional strategic acquisitions in the future, enabling the company to quickly realize its intent to extend into prospect-rich markets like China and Latin America. 

It certainly appears Alliance Boots, and by proxy Walgreens, are only now setting the stage for the main feature. Expect both company’s growth in adjusted profit to continue. 

 

 

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Health benefits important to personal product purchasers

BY DSN STAFF

Health benefits are among the top characteristics playing a role in personal product selection, according to an online survey of almost 700 AccentHealth viewers conducted in April. More than three-quarters of shoppers consider the health benefits when buying a health, beauty or hygiene product.

To see more Patient Views, click here

Patient Views is a new, exclusive consumer insights feature that appears in every edition of DSN magazine, as well as the daily e-newsletter DSN A.M. If you could ask 6,000 patients anything at all, what would it be? Send your questions to [email protected].

 

Source: AccentHealth. To view the demographic breakdown of participants, click here.

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Walgreens pharmacist interventions help improve compliance to newer ‘triple therapy’ hepatitis C treatment

BY Michael Johnsen

DEERFIELD, Ill. — More than two-thirds of patients with hepatitis C achieved sustained virologic response or cure after completing newer “triple therapy” treatment, according to a Walgreens Specialty Pharmacy study released Friday. 

Two years ago, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved two new protease inhibitors, telaprevir and boceprevir, which help prevent the virus from reproducing. When used in combination with peginterferon and ribavirin, the new medications significantly increased the cure rate and cut treatment time in half. Typically taken for 24 weeks or longer, the triple therapy regimen can cause significant side effects.

Even though the therapy may be life-saving, many patients have a difficult time completing the treatment due to the side effects and because they usually don’t feel sick when they have HCV. This makes pharmacist follow-up and support particularly important.

All patients who receive their HCV medications through Walgreens Specialty Pharmacy are included in the ConnectedCare program, which provides pharmacist-led support and guidance to help patients complete therapy. ConnectedCare features extensive patient education, screening for potential health concerns — including anemia and depression — regular medication counseling, awareness of possible insurance and financial assistance options and round-the-clock access to pharmacists.

“Our pharmacists and staff work diligently to help assess barriers to adherence and concerns associated with this condition,” stated Richard Miller, director of clinical services for Walgreens Specialty Pharmacy. “As integral members of our patient’s health care team, we are committed to providing ongoing support and education.” 

The Walgreens study included 406 HCV patients who received triple therapy with either telaprevir or boceprevir. Six months after completion of the treatment, 272 patients (67%) achieved SVR. Additionally, the adherence rate was above 90% for all of the medications. 

Before the FDA approved the new medications, patients with HCV-1 (the most common genotype) were prescribed dual therapy with peginterferon and ribavirin for 48 weeks, resulting in an SVR rate of 38% to 46%.

 

 

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