(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.
(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.
(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.
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
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.
(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.
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.
WASHINGTON (Reuters) – As the first Obamacare enrollment period comes to a close, U.S. insurers are already anticipating the need to raise prices for 2015 and fear that it will put them at the center of the political blame game over President Barack Obama’s healthcare law.
The Obama administration was poised on Tuesday to declare victory over signing up more than 7 million people for this year, overcoming technology failures that stymied enrollment in the program’s early weeks and Republican efforts to discredit it in the eyes of consumers.
WASHINGTON, April 1 (Reuters) – Cigna Corp has
enrolled between 75,000 and 100,000 people in Obamacare health
plans during the first three months of enrollment, Chief
Executive Officer David Cordani said on Tuesday at the Reuters
Of those, about two-thirds signed up through the public
exchanges created as part of U.S. President Barack Obama’s
healthcare reform law, often called Obamacare, Cordani said on
the day after the enrollment period for these plans ended. The
rest signed up directly with Cigna.
March 27 (Reuters) – A few U.S. states whose newly created
Obamacare insurance exchanges were stalled by technology
failures may join the federal government’s HealthCare.gov
marketplace for next year, while only two states that relied on
the administration plan to go it alone.
Exchange officials in Oregon, Maryland and Massachusetts are
weighing whether to enlist new private technology contractors or
to turn to the federal government after faulty exchanges slowed
enrollment in their states to the lowest rates in the country.
(Reuters) – U.S. consumers eligible for Obamacare health plans could see double-digit price hikes next year in states that fail to draw large numbers of enrollees for 2014, including some states that have been hostile to the healthcare law, according to insurance industry officials and analysts.
The early estimates come as insurance companies set out to design plans they intend to sell in 2015 through the state-based health insurance marketplaces that are a centerpiece of the Affordable Care Act, President Barack Obama’s signature domestic policy achievement that is widely referred to as Obamacare.