Correspondent, U.S. health team leader
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Mar 28, 2012

Hospital pay incentives fail to help patients: study

By Lewis Krauskopf

(Reuters) – A program to pay hospitals bonuses for hitting key performance measures, or dock them if they miss, failed to improve the health outcomes of patients, according to a large, long-term study.

The study could lead to a re-examination of financial incentives in healthcare, as policymakers seek ways to reward results rather than paying doctors and other providers for each service they provide, such as a diagnostic test.

Mar 28, 2012

Express Scripts-Medco deal could close next week

By Lewis Krauskopf

(Reuters) – Express Scripts Inc (ESRX.O: Quote, Profile, Research, Stock Buzz) may close its $29 billion acquisition of Medco Health Solutions Inc (MHS.N: Quote, Profile, Research, Stock Buzz) as soon as next week, the U.S. pharmacy benefit managers said on Wednesday.

Medco’s shares rose 3.3 percent after the companies disclosed the new timelines in securities filings, as investors bet that the risk that U.S. antitrust regulators would block the deal was disappearing.

Mar 28, 2012

Merck says key Vytorin study cleared to continue

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.

Mar 22, 2012

Analysis: Investors weigh chaos as high court reviews health law

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.

Mar 22, 2012

Watson shares rise on more optimism for Actavis deal

By Lewis Krauskopf

(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, 2012

UnitedHealth to buy two Florida health plans

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
elderly.

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
ranks.

Feb 23, 2012

Express Scripts says moving on without Walgreen

By Lewis Krauskopf

(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.”

Feb 21, 2012

Mylan sees profit doubling by 2018

By Lewis Krauskopf

(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, 2012

Medco quarterly profit jumps, helped by generics

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
generic drugs.

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, 2012

J&J recalls infant Tylenol due to bottle flaw

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.

    • About Lewis

      "I help coordinate coverage of healthcare companies for Reuters in the United States. I also cover health insurers, pharmacy benefit managers, generic drugmakers and pharmaceutical companies."
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