PHARMACY

Walgreens to acquire Carle RxExpress pharmacies

BY Allison Cerra

DEERFIELD, Ill. — Walgreens has inked a deal to acquire 10 Carle RxExpress pharmacies from The Carle Foundation, an integrated network of healthcare services based in East Central Illinois.

The drug store chain said it plans to continue operating six of the acquired pharmacies and close three locations, whereby prescription files and inventory will be transferred to nearby Walgreens pharmacies. The remaining location will be consolidated with 1-of-the-6 pharmacies that will continue to operate. Walgreens also said it plans to hire a majority of the current Carle RxExpress employees and will interview all RxExpress employees who apply for positions.

Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed, but Walgreens said it expects the transaction to be completed in July.

“We are pleased to maintain convenient access to high-quality pharmacy, health and wellness services for Carle RxExpress patients across East Central Illinois,” said Scott Haynes, Walgreens market VP for Central Illinois. “We are working with Carle to make this transition as seamless as possible and quickly introduce our new customers to the expanded services that have helped build Walgreens’ reputation for patient care in the region. We also look forward to welcoming many of Carle’s staff members who will help us continue its tradition of service to these communities.”

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CVS Caremark to complete acquisition of Universal American’s Part D business

BY Antoinette Alexander

WOONSOCKET, R.I. — CVS Caremark is expected to complete its acquisition of the Medicare Part D business of Universal American on April 29, the company has announced.

As previously reported, CVS Caremark will pay Universal American shareholders cash consideration of $1.25 billion plus the excess capital in the entities that operate Universal American’s Medicare Part D business, less Universal American’s outstanding trust preferred securities, which are being assumed by CVS Caremark.

Upon closing, CVS Caremark and Universal American will begin working to integrate the two businesses’ Medicare prescription drug plans, which will more than double the size of CVS Caremark’s Medicare Part D program.

"This transaction will make CVS Caremark a top provider of service in Medicare Part D, one of the nation’s fastest-growing healthcare segments," stated Per Lofberg, president of CVS Caremark Pharmacy Services. "This acquisition will strengthen our business and allow us to expand products and services to Medicare beneficiaries while we work to lower the cost of pharmacy care."

CVS Caremark continues to expect the acquisition to be about 8 cents accretive to adjusted earnings per share in 2011. This acquisition is consistent with the company’s goal of investing in core businesses that help drive growth and improve returns on invested capital. It is not expected to impact the company’s previously announced dividend growth and share buyback initiatives, company officials stated.

Medicare Part D is the federally subsidized prescription benefit program provided to Medicare beneficiaries, citizens who are ages 65 years and older or who otherwise qualify through disability. Prescription drug coverage funded by Medicare is projected to be one of the fastest-growing segments of the PBM market, given the nation’s aging demographics and the growing trend to transition retiree coverage to Medicare funding, the company noted.

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Court upholds Lilly’s patent for Cymbalta

BY Alaric DeArment

INDIANAPOLIS — Drug maker Eli Lilly will get at least two more years of patent exclusivity on a drug used to treat depression, anxiety and pain resulting from diabetic neuropathy and fibromyalgia, thanks to a court order issued Wednesday.

The U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Indiana ruled to forbid Wockhardt and other generic drug companies from selling generic versions of Cymbalta (duloxetine hydrochloride) until patent protection expires, which is expected to occur in June 2013.

Cymbalta has annual sales of about $3 billion, according to Sun Pharmaceutical Industries, which won tentative approval for a generic version of the drug from the Food and Drug Administration in November 2010.

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