March 28 (Reuters) – A closely watched study of Merck & Co
Inc’s Vytorin cholesterol treatment was cleared to
continue by safety monitors, the drugmaker said on Wednesday.
Wall Street has been eagerly anticipating the interim report
for the 18,000-patient Improve-It study to see whether Vytorin
is helping improve heart outcomes, and thereby increase sales
for the franchise.
NEW YORK (Reuters) – At Aetna Inc’s headquarters in Hartford, Connecticut, about two dozen employees devote all their working hours to one task: making sure the health insurer is up to speed with President Barack Obama’s U.S. healthcare overhaul law.
On a part-time basis, more than 1,000 more employees are also working daily on activities tied to the overhaul as the No. 3 U.S. health insurer seeks to comply with the regulations and communicates the changes to its thousands of customers.
(Reuters) – Shares of Watson Pharmaceuticals Inc (WPI.N: Quote, Profile, Research, Stock Buzz) rose more than 5 percent on Thursday, extending their gains on optimism over benefits from a possible acquisition of rival generic drugmaker Actavis.
Reuters reported on Wednesday that New Jersey-based Watson was close to buying Swiss-based Actavis for around $7 billion. Shares of Watson jumped 8.8 percent on Wednesday after the report, which cited sources familiar with the matter. Spokesmen for Watson and Actavis declined to comment on the report on Wednesday.
Feb 28 (Reuters) – UnitedHealth Group Inc
plans to buy two Florida health plans to increase its U.S.
market-leading position in providing Medicare plans for the
Health insurers have been striking deals to boost their
Medicare operations as the baby boom generation born after World
War II becomes eligible for the government program, swelling its
(Reuters) – Express Scripts Inc (ESRX.O: Quote, Profile, Research, Stock Buzz) said on Thursday it was moving forward successfully without Walgreen Co (WAG.N: Quote, Profile, Research, Stock Buzz) in its pharmacy network, citing wide support from clients.
Chief Executive Officer George Paz said the pharmacy benefits manager remained open to talking with Walgreen, “but it has got to be in the best interest of our shareholders and patients.”
(Reuters) – Mylan Inc (MYL.O: Quote, Profile, Research, Stock Buzz), the world’s third-largest generic drugmaker, forecast a 2012 profit increase generally in line with Wall Street’s target and projected earnings would more than double by 2018.
However, the company also lowered its revenue target for 2013 and posted fourth-quarter sales just shy of Wall Street estimates, and its shares fell 3.3 percent.
Feb 21 (Reuters) – Medco Health Solutions Inc,
which has agreed to be bought by rival Express Scripts Inc
, posted a higher-than-expected quarterly profit as the
pharmacy benefit manager increased dispensing of more profitable
Medco remains confident the $29 billion merger will close in
the first half of the year, the company said in conjunction with
release of the financial results on Tuesday.
Feb 17 (Reuters) – Johnson & Johnson said it
was recalling its entire U.S. supply of infant Tylenol after
parents complained about problems with a new dosing system, the
latest in a string of recalls for the healthcare giant.
Friday’s recall involves about 574,000 bottles of the
grape-flavored liquid Tylenol for infants younger than 2 years
old. Following earlier recalls, J&J had just returned to the
market with the infant Tylenol in November, but now will be out
of the market for an indefinite time.
(Reuters) – AstraZeneca Plc is selling breast cancer drug Arimidex directly to U.S. patients, offering an option for people who want to pay for the brand instead of generic versions.
Under the drugmaker’s new program, patients with a prescription can pay $40 a month for Arimidex to be mailed to their homes.
(Reuters) – The Obama administration maintains that its plan to have health insurers pay for birth control offered to employees of religious groups won’t end up costing the industry. But insurers aren’t so confident.
Last Friday, President Barack Obama sought to placate outraged leaders of the Catholic church, which opposes contraception, by making insurers responsible for providing the free birth control.