Walgreens expands access to Walgreens Connected Care hepatitis C program
DEERFIELD, Ill. — With new advances in treatment therapy now available for hepatitis C patients, Walgreens on Monday announced it is expanding access to Walgreens Connected Care hepatitis C program through its more than 100 hepatitis C-specialized pharmacies. Walgreens Connected Care is an education and support plan designed to help patients achieve a sustained virologic response and improved quality of life through medication adherence.
The expansion comes at a critical time, Walgreens noted, as the once potentially life-threatening condition affecting more than 3.2 million Americans is now increasingly curable due to recent advances in therapy. Also, a growing number of Americans with hepatitis C infection are expected to have access to health insurance based on the provisions of the Affordable Care Act.
Walgreens now offers more than 100 hepatitis C-specialized pharmacies with new hepatitis C virus medications available and pharmacists specially trained on next generation oral therapies. Walgreens hepatitis C specially-trained pharmacists are also qualified to identify HCV-associated health concerns and can provide hepatitis C patient care for those with a HIV co-infection or other comorbid conditions, such as diabetes or high blood pressure. The specialized support has been proven to benefit patients, contributing to 90% adherence for patients who completed past treatments.
“While recent hepatitis C therapy advances can be more effective and present fewer side effects, some patients, with high instance of comorbidity, can experience difficulty in managing care and an increased cost of therapy,” stated Glen Pietrandoni, Walgreens director specialty products and services, virology. “Walgreens Connected Caresm hepatitis C program, delivered through our hepatitis C- specialized pharmacies, is designed to meet the holistic needs of people diagnosed with hepatitis C before, during and after HCV treatment. This can help patients achieve SVR and an improved quality of life through medication adherence, while continuing to manage other health outcomes.”
Patients in Walgreens Connected Caresm hepatitis C program receive support services including 24-hour access to specially trained pharmacists, help verifying insurance and identifying financial assistance options, convenient access to or delivery of medication and pharmacist-led regimen check points to monitor response to therapy and encourage medication adherence.
Walgreens hepatitis C specially trained pharmacists work with patients to determine the best method of delivery. HCV medications can be picked up at a Walgreens hepatitis C specialized pharmacy or a designated local Walgreens pharmacy. Delivery is also available through hepatitis C specialized pharmacies or Walgreens Specialty Pharmacy locations.
“As the most common blood transmitted infection in the U.S. largely affecting an aging population with high instance of other health concerns, careful holistic patient pharmaceutical care and supported comprehensive therapy treatment plans are critical to maintain total medication adherence,” Pietrandoni said.
Actavis to acquire Forest Labs. for approximately $25 billion
DUBLIN — Actavis and Forest Labs. on Tuesday announced that they have entered into a definitive agreement under which Actavis will acquire Forest for a combination of cash and equity valued at approximately $25 billion, or $89.48 per Forest share ($26.04 in cash and 0.3306 Actavis shares for each share of Forest common stock). The per share consideration represents a premium of approximately 25% per share over Forest’s stock price, and a premium of approximately 31% over Forest’s 10-day volume weighted average stock price, as of the close of trading on Feb. 14, 2014.
If successfully completed, the transaction will combine two of the world’s fastest-growing specialty pharmaceutical companies, with combined annual revenues of more than $15 billion anticipated for 2015.
“With this strategic combination, we create an innovative new model in specialty pharmaceuticals leadership, with size and scale, a balanced offering of strong brands and generics, a focus on strategic, lower-risk drug development, and – most important – the ability to drive sustainable organic growth,” stated Paul Bisaro, chairman and CEO of Actavis. “Bolstered by one of the deepest and most diversified product portfolios in the industry with an exceptionally strong pipeline, this transaction creates a powerful engine for generating long-term, double-digit revenue and earnings growth.
On a pro forma combined basis for full year 2014, the combined company will have an approximately $2 billion central nervous system franchise; gastroenterology and women’s health franchises valued at approximately $1 billion each; a cardiovascular franchise that generates approximately $500 million; and urology and dermatology/established brand franchises approaching $500 million a year in sales each.
“The combination of Forest with Actavis creates a specialty company with annual sales of approximately $15 billion, a diversified portfolio and a geographically balanced business,” said Brent Saunders, CEO and president of Forest. “This compelling combination gives us more optionality to drive future growth and sustainable shareholder value due to our expanded geographic and therapeutic presence, ability to drive new product flow through R&D, strong balance sheet and consistent cash flow," he said. “Forest is a great fit with Actavis due to our strong legacy in branded specialty and primary care pharmaceuticals with a best in class commercial team, a top-notch drug development organization and a long history of successful partnerships. The acquisition builds on our blockbuster line call strategy in CNS and GI and dramatically extends our reach beyond the U.S. market,” Saunders added. “By joining forces with Actavis, we become more relevant to key physicians and customers through blockbuster franchises in CNS, women’s health, GI and urology, as well as Actavis’ global generics business.”
“As chairman of Actavis, I am in a unique and enviable position of having two exceptionally experienced and successful management teams committed to creating a new future for the combined company," Bisaro said. "I am especially pleased that Brent will be joining the Actavis board of directors and has agreed to work with me following the close to build a world class company focused on sustainable double digit growth. Over the next several months, as we prepare for the integration and closing, our teams will define the structure necessary to capitalize on Actavis’ global leadership in brand, generic, biosimilar and OTC pharmaceuticals.”
The combined company will be led by Paul Bisaro, chairman and CEO of Actavis. The integration of the two companies will be led by the Actavis and Forest senior management teams, with integration planning expected to begin immediately in order to assure a rapid transition to a single company following close. Actavis has agreed that three members of the Forest board of directors will be named to the Actavis board of directors following the close.
The proposed transaction has been unanimously approved by the boards of both companies, and is similarly supported by both management teams. The transaction is subject to the approval of the shareholders of both companies, as well as customary regulatory approvals, including a Hart-Scott-Rodino review in the United States.
Walgreens expands preventive health care services into California
DEERFIELD, Ill. — Further expanding the scope of convenient, preventive health care services provided by its pharmacists, Walgreens on Thursday announced it is now offering daily testing for cholesterol, blood glucose and body composition at nearly 200 stores in California. Each test also includes a free blood pressure reading and personal consultation with a Walgreens pharmacist.
“Providing convenient, affordable access to health testing services is an important part of our commitment to disease prevention and chronic care management,” stated Hayley Park, market pharmacy director, Walgreens. “As the most accessible health care providers, our pharmacists are spending more time with patients through consultations, immunizations, medication questions or concerns, health testing and other important services to help our customers get, stay and live well.”
Walgreens offers health testing daily at more than 4,100 stores in 41 states.