PHARMACY

Valeant buys Solta Medical

BY Alaric DeArment

LAVAL, Quebec — Valeant Pharmaceuticals International will acquire Solta Medical for about $250 million, Valeant said Monday.

The Canadian drug maker said the $2.92-per-share acquisition represented a 40% premium over Solta’s closing share price on Friday. Solta develops, manufactures and markets energy-based medical device systems for such cosmetic medical procedures as skin tightening, improving skin texture and others.

"The acquisition of Solta will bring tremendous value to Valeant’s current aesthetic and, together with our previous acquisitions, will create the broadest aesthetic portfolio in the industry," Valeant chairman and CEO J. Michael Pearson said. "Solta’s leading aesthetic devices are a natural fit with Valeant’s facial injectables, professional skin care products and physician-dispensed products, and will establish Valeant in a strong leadership position as we continue to build our presence in the aesthetic market."

 

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PHARMACY

EMD Serono releases redesigned injector pen for infertility

BY Alaric DeArment

ROCKLAND, Mass. — A redesigned version of an injector pen used to treat infertility is available for distribution in the United States, the manufacturer said Monday.

EMD Serono, a subsidiary of German drug maker Merck KGaA, said that Gonal-f RFF Redi-ject, a disposable, pre-filled pen used for the drug Gonal-f RFF (follitropin alfa), had become available. The Food and Drug Administration approved the redesigned pen in October. Merck KGaA operates in the United States under the name EMD in order to avoid confusion with U.S.-based Merck & Co.

"This device was designed with feedback from healthcare professionals, patients and significant others," EMD Serono SVP and head of U.S. fertility and endocrinology Craig Millian said. "EMD Serono has a long heritage of fertility expertise and is committed to strengthening that legacy. Adding this device to our product portfolio helps to further our mission, which is to create, innovate and advocate for people who want to have a child, with the goal of reducing barriers to treatment."

 

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NACDS urges choice of pharmacy, patient access in ACA

BY Antoinette Alexander

ARLINGTON, Va. — The National Association of Chain Drug Stores underscored its commitment to improving the quality and affordability of the nation’s healthcare system and expressed concern about potential consequences of restricted pharmacy networks with the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act exchange plans in a statement to the U.S. House of Representatives Oversight and Government Reform Committee. 

The committee held a hearing Friday titled, “Premiums, Provider Networks and the Health Care Law.”

“Preferred networks in the pharmacy sector may interfere with patient access to quality care. The use of preferred networks limits patient access to pharmacy providers whose services improve lives and help address poor medication adherence, an issue that costs the nation approximately $290 billion annually,” NACDS said in its statement.

Instead, NACDS emphasized the importance of patient choice in choosing pharmacy providers, citing that nearly all Americans (92%) live within five miles of a community retail pharmacy.


"Open networks provide greater access and more choices, particularly in more rural areas with fewer pharmacies. Additionally, community pharmacies meet patients’ needs for convenient access through a highly competitive environment that gives consumers choices in how their medications and healthcare services are provided,” the Association said in its statement.


NACDS also cited that exchange plan limitations on the number of pharmacies that can participate in a network also limit patient access to knowledgeable professionals, which play a critical role in providing care and cost savings. In addition, NACDS expressed concerns about restrictions on drug formularies in exchange plans. 


“NACDS is concerned that patients who face restricted drug formularies and cost sharing may choose to skip their necessary medications, because they simply cannot afford the out-of-pocket costs. Overall care for these patients may prove more costly in the long run, defeating the goals of providing high quality, more affordable care,” NACDS said in its statement.

 

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