Valeant to acquire Eyetech
MISSISSAUGA, Ontario — Valeant Pharmaceuticals is set to acquire a privately owned ophthalmic biotechnology company, the drug maker said Monday.
Valeant said it will acquire Eyetech upfront payment and potential future milestones. The transaction, which is subject to customary closing conditions, is expected to close this week. Additional details were not disclosed.
"This acquisition of Eyetech will fit nicely with our existing ophthalmology business, which includes a preservative free Timoptic in Ocudose and Lacrisert, products obtained through our acquisition of Aton in 2010," Valeant chairman and CEO J. Michael Pearson said. "The ophthalmology market has similar characteristics to the dermatology space and is a natural extension of our development capabilities. We will continue to look for future opportunities to acquire additional products and gain important critical mass in this specialty space."
Reports: Obama administration offers compromise on birth control requirements
NEW YORK — Controversy over a plan by the Obama administration to require health insurance plans to provide free contraception to women has led the administration to seek a policy that it is calling a compromise with conservative groups opposed to the measure, according to published reports.
The controversy surrounded the new rule’s requirement that employee health insurance plans provide free birth control, including those run by the Roman Catholic church, such as hospitals and universities. The Church opposes birth control.
According to the New York Times, the administration is planning to offer an "accommodation" that would allow religious organizations to forgo offering free birth control, while employees needing it would be able to get it as a side benefit for a small fee, but it would effectively be free for them.
Rival PBMs plan to take advantage over last month of Express Scripts-Medco uncertainty
WHAT IT MEANS AND WHY IT’S IMPORTANT — The regulatory review of the Express Scripts-Medco merger now is in its final stages, and with the clock ticking down to that 30-day deadline, you can expect a full court-press from retail pharmacy interests looking to block the deal. The time for the three-point finesse shots from the corners of the court has passed, it’s now time to charge the net and jam the message home; an Express Scripts-Medco merger is bad both for the retail pharmacy business and for consumers. However, it just might be good for CVS Caremark.
(THE NEWS: Report: FTC to rule on Express Scripts, Medco merger within 30 days. For the full story, click here.)
Not a finalized, approved merger, mind you. That wouldn’t necessarily be any better for CVS Caremark’s retail operations than it would be for any other pharmacy operator. But the uncertainty of the moment, just as both health plans and employers are starting to enter their request for proposal processes for the pending PBM selling season, it’s that uncertainty that’s good for CVS Caremark. "We are expecting to see more RFPs out in the marketplace this year," said Larry Merlo, CEO, president and director during an analyst call last week. "The benefit consultants are driving that with the Express-Medco deal on the horizon. So we do see more activity coming."
Incidentally, CVS Caremark is also benefiting from the Walgreens-Express Scripts failed contract negotiations. Though that benefit is showing up in transferred patients from Walgreens rather than any negotiating leverage for CVS’ PBM operation. "I don’t think the Express-Walgreens issue per se is particularly a significant factor," noted Per Lofberg, EVP and president of Caremark Pharmacy Services during the company’s analyst call Feb. 8. "I do think that there will be an interest in comparing the cost savings and the benefits from restricted networks going forward, and that is probably, to some extent, prompted by the Express-Walgreens impasse, but that will be just one factor that we’ll be interested in."
Lofberg suggested a rival PBM would need to produce savings in excess of 2% "for it to be a meaningful benefit to a customer and to justify the disruption that is inevitable when you change the network."