Caroline's Feed
May 12, 2014

Allergan rejects Valeant Pharma’s ‘cut and slash’ takeover

By Caroline Humer

(Reuters) – U.S. drugmaker Allergan Inc (AGN.N: Quote, Profile, Research, Stock Buzz) on Monday rejected Valeant Pharmaceuticals International Inc’s (VRX.TO: Quote, Profile, Research, Stock Buzz)(VRX.N: Quote, Profile, Research, Stock Buzz) $47 billion takeover offer, saying its proposed cost cuts were too steep.

Allergan, which makes popular anti-wrinkle treatment Botox, said it believed Valeant’s business model was unsustainable and that the offer was too risky because of uncertainty about the company’s long-term growth.

May 7, 2014

Humana sees 2014 Medicare Advantage growth, exchange sales surge

By Caroline Humer

(Reuters) – Managed care company Humana Inc(HUM.N: Quote, Profile, Research, Stock Buzz) said on Wednesday that it expects growth in Medicare Advantage plans in 2014 despite government cuts to funding and said its will add hundreds of thousands of new customers in Obamacare plans.

Humana said it has received 700,000 applications for individual healthcare plans during the open enrollment period for the new insurance, putting it on track to be one of the largest players on the exchanges.

Apr 24, 2014

Aetna says early months of Obamacare better than feared

By Caroline Humer

(Reuters) – Aetna Inc (AET.N: Quote, Profile, Research, Stock Buzz) said on Thursday its first few months under Obamacare turned out better than expected as it added new members not only on the exchanges but in its traditional large corporate business.

Aetna’s shares surged 5.5 percent as the company allayed some investor concern that health costs were higher than what it and competitors had planned for. It also said it beat first-quarter profit expectations as bad weather helped keep down doctor visits and medical costs.

Apr 24, 2014

Aetna quarterly profit beats forecasts as new members surge

By Caroline Humer

(Reuters) – Aetna Inc (AET.N: Quote, Profile, Research, Stock Buzz) on Thursday reported a better-than-expected first quarter, helped by a surge in profits from its commercial business and by adding new customers.

New customers were sourced partly from employers and partly from insurance exchanges created under President Barack Obama’s signature healthcare law.

Apr 22, 2014

Novartis, Valeant bids herald new deal-making era for pharma

By Caroline Humer

(Reuters) – A series of agreed or proposed drug company deals may herald a new era of acquisitions not seen since last decade as pharmaceutical companies improve their best businesses and exit weaker ones.

Novartis (NOVN.VX: Quote, Profile, Research, Stock Buzz) and GlaxoSmithKline (GSK.L: Quote, Profile, Research, Stock Buzz) agreed to trade more than $20 billion worth of assets, boosting Novartis’ cancer-drug business and Glaxo’s vaccines business. Valeant Pharmaceuticals (VRX.TO: Quote, Profile, Research, Stock Buzz) made a $47 billion unsolicited offer for Allergan Inc (AGN.N: Quote, Profile, Research, Stock Buzz), the maker of Botox, to boost its skin care business. Reports that Pfizer Inc (PFE.N: Quote, Profile, Research, Stock Buzz) was rebuffed earlier this year in discussions to buy AstraZeneca Inc (AZN.L: Quote, Profile, Research, Stock Buzz) for more than $100 billion only fed anticipation that more mergers are ahead.

Apr 17, 2014

UnitedHealth: New hepatitis C drug costs far more than forecast

By Caroline Humer

(Reuters) – UnitedHealth Group Inc (UNH.N: Quote, Profile, Research, Stock Buzz), the largest U.S. health insurer, said on Thursday it has spent more than $100 million to cover a pricey new hepatitis C drug from Gilead Sciences Inc (GILD.O: Quote, Profile, Research, Stock Buzz), a higher cost than it expected by “multiples,” sending shares in the sector lower.

UnitedHealth is the first insurer to put a number to what the industry may pay to cover patients using Gilead’s new Sovaldi treatment, whose $84,000 price tag has spurred a national outcry over the rising costs of specialty medicines. . UnitedHealth did not disclose what it had expected to spend on the hepatitis C drug.

Apr 11, 2014

Texas Medicaid holds off on proposed limits for Gilead hepatitis drug

By Caroline Humer

(Reuters) – Texas is reconsidering whether to impose strict limits on Gilead Sciences’ $84,000 hepatitis C treatment for patients on the state’s Medicaid health plan for the poor, at the urging of outside advisers, a state official said on Friday.

The Texas Health and Human Services Commission, which oversees Medicaid, had proposed a policy to allow the drug, Sovaldi, to be used mainly for sicker patients, such as those whose hepatitis C had developed into advanced liver disease, according to state documents reviewed by Reuters.

Apr 8, 2014

U.S. insurers still expect cuts in 2015 Medicare payments

April 8 (Reuters) – U.S. health insurers said on Tuesday
they still expected cuts in government reimbursements for
privately managed Medicare health plans for the elderly next
year even after the Obama administration rolled back the
steepest reductions.

The government agency that oversees Medicare said late on
Monday that on average, reimbursements to insurers for private
Medicare plans would rise 0.4 percent, reversing what it said
was a proposed cut of 1.9 percent.

Apr 7, 2014

U.S. government rolls back proposed Medicare Advantage cut

By Caroline Humer and David Morgan

(Reuters) – The Obama administration on Monday rolled back some of the more controversial cuts proposed for privately managed Medicare health plans used by the elderly following pressure from insurance companies and lawmakers.

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) said that on average, reimbursement for such Medicare Advantage plans in 2015 would rise 0.4 percent, reversing what is said was a 1.9 percent average reduction proposed in February.

Apr 2, 2014

Healthcare players see more changes coming to Obamacare

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Some of the key players rolling out Obamacare to the American public say their work on the program is just beginning, as the real-world effect of the law throws up new questions and problems.

More than 7 million people signed up for new health coverage under President Barack Obama’s healthcare law for 2014, the first year in which its main provisions took effect. Obama celebrated the enrollment milestone on Tuesday as a victory for the program which has faced relentless opposition from the Republican Party and major technical hurdles.