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WAG, ESI mutually dismiss legal proceedings; WAG extends agreement with PBM OptumRx

BY Michael Johnsen

DEERFIELD, Ill. — Walgreens on Monday confirmed its legal dispute with Express Scripts has been mutually dropped in what many analysts are heralding as the beginning of the end of the Walgreens-Express Scripts dispute of 2012.

“The parties have agreed to dismiss their respective claims, and no other action has been or will be taken by either party with respect to this case," Walgreens said. "These dismissals have no impact on the parties’ ability or inability to come to terms on a pharmacy agreement. The parties and their counsel will have no further comment on this matter.”

In separate-yet-related news, Walgreens announced the extension of a multiyear agreement with OptumRx, one of the largest pharmacy benefit managers in the United States. “We help drive down total healthcare costs through our industry-leading generic dispensing and conversion rates and our broad range of additional clinical services and advice that help improve patient care and health outcomes. We are pleased that OptumRx recognizes the service and value we bring to its clients," the pharmacy retailer stated in a separate release issued Monday morning.

“Walgreens offers both the pharmacy and overall health care value sought by PBMs like OptumRx who are developing differentiated member services and benefits for their clients,” added Kermit Crawford, Walgreens president of pharmacy, health and wellness. “We help drive down total health care costs through our industry-leading generic dispensing and conversion rates and our broad range of additional clinical services and advice that help improve patient care and health outcomes. We are pleased that OptumRx recognizes the service and value we bring to its clients.”


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R.CHAN says:
Jun-05-2012 10:37 am

I totally support WAG's actions and integratity to stand on business principles and fight back trends from PBMs, Medicaid, and other payers which they believe are contrary to its long term growth and profitability. Only WAG consistantly has shown this business virture across a long history of business cycles up and downs. Their competitors have not done the same, and actually been more opportunists in picking up the short term business loss ... and not realizing that they are splitting their industry segment strengths and underminding their long term health. WAG's has taken a short term 30% HIT in valuation ... demononstrating their commitment. My hat is OFF to you, I'd work for this kind of company anytime. Robert Chan Managing Partner Health Resource Management, Inc

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Hi-Tech Pharmacal completes acquisition of dermatosis treatment

BY Alaric DeArment

AMITYVILLE, N.Y. — Hi-Tech Pharmacal has acquired rights to a topical drug for treating dermatoses of the scalp from Watson, Hi-Tech said Monday.

Hi-Tech announced the acquisition of Cormax (clobetasol propionate) topical solution for an undisclosed sum. The drug had sales of about $600,000 in 2011, according to IMS Health. The drug maker acquired the drug through its ECR Pharmaceuticals subsidiary and plans to launch it this month.

"Since Hi-Tech will manufacture Cormax for our ECR subsidiary, we anticipate the product will generate high margins," Hi-Tech president and CEO David Seltzer said. "We are pleased to add another well-recognized brand to the ECR portfolio of branded products."


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Takeda completes URL Pharma acquisition

BY Alaric DeArment

DEERFIELD, Ill. — Drug maker Takeda Pharmaceutical has finished its purchase of URL Pharma, the companies said Monday.

Japan-based Takeda announced in April that it would buy URL for $800 million. The acquisition, through local subsidiary Takeda Pharmaceuticals USA, gives Takeda control of the gout drug Colcrys (colchicine). URL will report to Takeda Pharmaceuticals USA president Douglas Cole, and the acquisition is expected to boost 2012 sales by $550 million, Takeda said.

"The acquisition of URL Pharma is a meaningful opportunity that delivers on our commitment to strengthen Takeda’s presence in the U.S. by adding products that amplify our expertise in primary care," Cole said. "This commitment allows us to broaden our focus for patients by providing multiple therapeutic offerings for gout, which affects more than 8 million Americans."

Colcrys, which is the sonly single-ingredient oral colchicine product with approval from the Food and Drug Administration, had 2011 sales of more than $430 million, according to the companies.


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