HEALTH

Mucinex dominates the cough brand experience, Treato finds

BY Michael Johnsen

NEW YORK – Treato on Tuesday released its first annual list of top over-the-counter cough medications. Reckitt Benckiser's Mucinex brands dominate the list with their formulations taking three of the top four spots. Mucinex D took the No. 1 spot, Mucinex took the third spot and Mucinex DM took the fourth spot on the list. 
 
Treato found that brand marketing plays a large role in consumers' experiences of cough medications as products with the same formulations placed in significantly different spots on the list. Reckitt Benckiser and Pfizer were the manufacturers to dominate the list taking all spots on the list except for one.
 
"Reckitt Benckiser's investment in DTC advertising is clearly paying off as consumers are disproportionately discussing their brands online," stated Ido Hadari, CEO of Treato. "We hope that by identifying and ranking over-the-counter cold medications based on other consumer's experiences we are able to help them navigate the drug store aisles when searching for cold relief."
 
TreatoVoice is a unique data asset that continuously collects and analyzes more than 2 billion patient and caregiver conversations happening across the Internet to understand what patients are saying about their experiences with their conditions and treatments. Within TreatoVoice, Treato has the capability to algorithmically identify and rank patients' experiences with medications within their Web posts. 
 
Treato Satisfaction scores are overall drug scores that are calculated based on a ratio of positive to negative reviews about a medication with weight given to the volume and recency of conversations happening online and Treato Concern scores are calculated based on the percentage of patient online conversations that raise a concern or discuss a side effect in the conversation compared to all of the conversations about the brand happening online.
 
 
 
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Sanofi, Boehringer Ingelheim in business swap negotiations

BY David Salazar

PARIS and INGELHEIM, Germany — Sanofi and Boehringer Ingelheim announced Tuesday that they were in negotiations to swap businesses. The swap would involve Sanofi’s animal health division, Merial, worth about $12.4 billion and Boehringer Ingelheim’s consumer healthcare business, valued at about $7.3 billion. 
 
A deal — which would exclude Boehringer Ingelheim’s consumer healthcare business in China — would also see Sanofi receiving a $5.2 billion payment from Boehringer Ingelheim and make Sanofi one of the top over-the-counter product companies in the world.
 
“This transaction would allow Sanofi to become a world leader in the attractive non-prescription medicines market and would bring a complementary portfolio with highly recognized brands, allowing for mid- and long-term value creation,” Sanofi CEO Dr. Oliver Brandicourt said. “I am confident that Boehringer Ingelheim will enable Merial to fully express and develop its potential in the attractive but competitive animal health market.”
 
The companies said that a business swap would give Sanofi critical mass in cough and cold, while bringing products in such categories as gastrointestinal, VMS, analgesics and antispasmodics into Sanofi’s portfolio and improving the company’s reach in Germany and Japan. It would also expand Sanofi’s position in the United States, Europe, Latin America and Eurasia, with Germany becoming a key area for Sanofi’s cough and cold and gastrointestinal products. 
 
“I am confident that Sanofi will enable our CHC business to fully live its potential supported by highly professional and committed teams,” Boehringer Ingelheim chairman Andreas Barner said.
 
A deal would also improve Boehringer Ingelheim’s position in animal health, making it the second-largest player in the world for that area. It would maintain Merial operations in France and look for momentum in U.S. operations.
 
A definitive agreement between the companies is expected in the coming months, and Sanofi’s goal is to close a potential transaction in Q4 of 2016. Were a deal to take place, it would not affect Sanofi’s EPS in 2017 and would be accretive thereafter. 
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Valeant, Walgreens ink new fulfillment agreement

BY Michael Johnsen

LAVAL, Quebec  — Valeant Pharmaceuticals on Tuesday announced new fulfillment agreements with Walgreens while indicating it intends to extend this distribution model to additional participating independent retail pharmacies. 
 
"We have listened to what the marketplace is saying and we've taken positive steps to respond. We are pleased to announce both a strategic fulfillment agreement with Walgreens, as well as a new agreement to offer innovator products at generic prices, which is good for consumers, good for physicians and good for the healthcare system," stated Michael Pearson, chairman and CEO Valeant. "Our goal is to create a system that allows prescription medications to be dispensed and insurance claims adjudicated in an efficient manner while allowing physicians to focus their efforts on what matters most: patient care."
 
"Walgreens is always looking for ways to expand the products and services people want and need, and our agreement with Valeant advances our commitment to creating a patient-led pharmacy experience," said Alex Gourlay, president of Walgreens. "In addition to promoting pharmacist-patient interactions to improve care and medication adherence, this agreement creates a new direct distribution model that we believe will help increase efficiency."
 
In conjunction with the fulfillment agreement, Valeant will reduce prices of its branded prescription-based dermatological and ophthalmological products by 10%. The reduced pricing will apply to the wholesale list prices of these products and will be phased in over the next six to nine months. 
 
This agreement also covers Valeant's over-the-counter product portfolio.
 
The agreement will enable consumers to conveniently access Valeant's dermatology and ophthalmology products at a lower out-of-pocket cost from more than 8,000 Walgreens U.S. retail pharmacy locations, as well as participating independent retailers. The 20-year agreement takes effect the first quarter of 2016 and will initially cover Valeant's dermatology products – including Jublia, Luzu, Solodyn, Retin-A Micro Gel 0.08%, Onexton and Acanya Gel – and ophthalmology products including Besivance, Lotemax,  Alrex, Prolensa, Bepreve and Zylet. 
 
Valeant and Walgreens hope to expand the relationship to include other therapeutic areas over time, the companies stated.
 
The agreement is designed to create a more efficient model to help lower costs while ensuring patients have convenient access to the products their doctors prescribe. Patients with commercial insurance can benefit from lower out-of-pocket costs, such as reduced copays, set to be as low as zero for some products initially, and the program will provide convenient access for patients who lack coverage for the products. Because of government regulation, the cost-sharing program will not be applicable to patients with government insurance.
 
Walgreens and Valeant also have entered into a separate agreement under which Valeant will distribute more than 30 branded products, where generics are available, in the dermatology, ophthalmology, gastrointestinal and neurology/other therapeutic areas through Walgreens at generic prices, giving doctors the ability to make the branded product available to patients at generic prices. The reduced pricing for the branded products, which will be available to all patients beginning the second half of 2016, is expected to range from 5% to 95%, or a weighted average price decrease of more than 50%. The agreement covers such products as Aldara, Tiazac and Glumetza. 
 
This program will be available to all patients, including those with government coverage.
 
Valeant expects the price decreases across both programs, when fully implemented, will provide up to $600 million in annual savings to the healthcare system. 
 
The direct distribution model for Valeant's dermatology and ophthalmology products through Walgreens and independent pharmacies is designed to help reduce costs and administrative processes, yielding savings that can benefit patients and the healthcare system. Independently, Walgreens has retained Leavitt Partners, headed by former U.S. Dept. of Health and Human Services Secretary and former Utah governor Michael Leavitt, to assess the model and evaluate its benefits to patients and markets to ensure it is delivering value.
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