Caroline's Feed
Nov 20, 2014

Drug spending tops $1 trillion on hepatitis C, cancer therapies: study

By Caroline Humer

(Reuters) – Global pharmaceutical spending will break the trillion dollar mark in 2014, driven by high prices in the United States for novel treatments such as Gilead Sciences Inc’s Sovaldi for hepatitis C and new cancer drugs, according to a study released on Thursday.

Total spending on drugs will hit $1.06 trillion, an increase of 7 percent over 2013 levels, according to the report from the IMS Institute for Healthcare Informatics. The increase also reflected a slowdown in the introduction of cheaper generic versions of branded medicines.

Nov 17, 2014

Allergan agrees to $66 bln Actavis offer; Valeant walks

By Caroline Humer

(Reuters) – Botox maker Allergan Inc on Monday accepted a $66 billion takeover bid from Actavis Plc, ending a seven-month hostile pursuit by activist investor William Ackman and Valeant Pharmaceuticals International Inc.

    Dublin-based Actavis offered $219 per share in cash and stock, amounting to billions more than Canada’s Valeant was prepared to pay. Valeant said it would walk away from its Allergan campaign shortly after the deal was announced. Ackman was not available for comment.

Nov 14, 2014

UnitedHealth says competitively priced in key Obamacare markets

By Caroline Humer

(Reuters) – UnitedHealth Group Inc, the largest U.S. health insurer, said on Friday that it hit the right competitive price in many of the 23 states where it will offer Obamacare plans for the first time this year including two of the biggest markets: Florida and Texas.

“We think based on what we’ve seen so far we are actually going to be very competitive in key states,” UnitedHealth Senior Vice President Jeff Lucht said on Friday in an interview.

Nov 13, 2014

WellPoint email glitch puts colonoscopy test in the subject line

NEW YORK/SAN FRANCISCO Nov 12 (Reuters) – Some WellPoint Inc
customers got a surprise in their inbox this week:
emails meant to remind them to get a specific preventative
screening such as a colonoscopy or mammogram mistakenly included
personal and health information in the subject line.

WellPoint declined to say how many customers received the
emails or the cause of the technology issue.

Nov 3, 2014

Allergan says has been approached by another party about a deal

Nov 3 (Reuters) – Botox maker Allergan Inc, which is
fending off an acquisition by Valeant Pharmaceuticals Inc
, said on Monday it had been approached by another party
regarding a potential transaction.

The company is Actavis Plc, a source familiar with
the situation said.

Allergan, which made the disclosure in a regulatory filing
on Monday, had said it was looking for acquisitions but has not
previously said it had been contacted about a deal.

Oct 30, 2014

Cigna says Obamacare business losses on the decline

Oct 30 (Reuters) – Cigna Corp. said on Thursday that
financial losses from the new Obamacare health insurance eased
in the third quarter, becoming the second insurer this week to
say that business was improving.

The U.S. Affordable Care Act, often called Obamacare,
created national exchanges that sell health plans to individuals
regardless of age or health. Previously, individual plans could
deny coverage to people and charge more based on age, health or

Oct 30, 2014

Insurers have big plans for 2015 Obamacare enrollment

By Caroline Humer

(Reuters) – U.S. insurers planning to sell 2015 Obamacare health plans expect at least 20 percent growth in customers and in some states anticipate more than doubling sign-ups.

In interviews with Reuters, half a dozen privately held and non-profit health insurers around the country say they are expecting this growth based on interest from potential customers they are hearing about through their call centers, sales forces and brokers.

Oct 29, 2014

WellPoint beats Wall St. forecast as medical costs stay low

By Caroline Humer

(Reuters) – U.S. health insurer WellPoint Inc (WLP.N: Quote, Profile, Research, Stock Buzz) on Wednesday reported a higher-than-expected quarterly profit as its medical costs stayed low, and it forecast continued earnings growth in 2015.

Investors are closely watching third-quarter medical cost trends for indications that years of restrained spending on care have begun to end. Some hospitals have said customers are having more procedures because of a turn in the economy, while others have cited new insurance and Medicaid plans offered under President Barack Obama’s national healthcare reform law.

Oct 28, 2014

Aetna sees higher medical cost spending than expected

By Caroline Humer

(Reuters) – Aetna Inc (AET.N: Quote, Profile, Research, Stock Buzz), the third-largest U.S. health insurer, said on Tuesday it expects 2014 medical costs to increase at the high end of its forecasts, underpinning investor concerns that years of stabilized medical use could be ending.

Shares in Aetna fell 2.2 percent and others insurers including UnitedHealth Group Inc (UNH.N: Quote, Profile, Research, Stock Buzz) and WellPoint Inc (WLP.N: Quote, Profile, Research, Stock Buzz) also fell.

Oct 22, 2014

Abbott, Mylan back generics deal, tweak terms after tax rule change

By Caroline Humer and Ransdell Pierson

(Reuters) – Abbott Laboratories (ABT.N: Quote, Profile, Research, Stock Buzz) and Mylan Inc (MYL.O: Quote, Profile, Research, Stock Buzz) said on Wednesday they would go ahead with their $5.3 billion deal in which Mylan will buy part of Abbott’s overseas generics business and set up headquarters in the Netherlands, but they tweaked the terms of the transaction.

The move comes after the U.S. Treasury on Sept. 22 made changes to the corporate tax rules that govern such “inversion” merger deals, in which companies move their operations to countries with lower taxes than the United States. The new rules raise the bar for such tax treatment and make it harder to reap other tax benefits from inversions.