Correspondent, U.S. health team leader
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Jun 18, 2012

Ex-Aetna chief criticizes insurance mandate

By Lewis Krauskopf

(Reuters) – The recently retired head of health insurer Aetna Inc criticized the component at the heart of the U.S. healthcare overhaul law, known as the individual mandate, and predicted it would not be upheld.

The Supreme Court is expected to rule before the end of the month on the law, championed by U.S. President Barack Obama and designed to expand coverage to more than 30 million uninsured Americans.

Jun 13, 2012

Analysis: Investors plot hedges for healthcare law ruling

NEW YORK (Reuters) – Investors could be excused for avoiding health insurance and hospital stocks as a U.S. Supreme Court decision nears on President Barack Obama’s healthcare overhaul law – an outcome that could send the companies’ shares down 10 percent or more.

Aside from an educated guess, little real analysis can predict a ruling that has at least a half-dozen possible results for a law that affects wide swathes of the healthcare industry.

Jun 11, 2012

UnitedHealth to keep reforms, whatever court decides

June 11 (Reuters) – UnitedHealth Group Inc, the
largest U.S. health insurer by market value, said it would
maintain the health coverage protections included in President
Barack Obama’s healthcare law regardless of how the Supreme
Court rules on the legislation.

The Supreme Court is expected to decide later this month
whether to strike down all or portions of the law, Obama’s
signature domestic policy achievement that was passed in 2010.

Jun 11, 2012

UnitedHealth to keep reform provisions, regardless of Court ruling

NEW YORK (Reuters) – UnitedHealth Group Inc, the largest U.S. health insurer by market value, said it would maintain the health coverage protections included in President Barack Obama’s healthcare law regardless of how the Supreme Court rules on the legislation.

The Supreme Court is expected to decide later this month whether to strike down all or portions of the law, Obama’s signature domestic policy achievement that was passed in 2010.

May 30, 2012

Icahn takes another run at Forest Labs board

May 30 (Reuters) – Billionaire investor Carl Icahn, who last
year failed to get his nominees elected to the board of Forest
Laboratories Inc, plans to back another slate of
directors at the drugmaker’s next shareholder meeting, according
to a regulatory filing on Wednesday.

Icahn holds 9.92 percent of Forest shares — up from 9.2
percent last August — making him the company’s second-largest
shareholder behind Wellington Management’s 12.8 percent stake,
according to Thomson Reuters data.

May 29, 2012

Vertex corrects cystic fibrosis data; shares fall

By Lewis Krauskopf

(Reuters) – Vertex Pharmaceuticals Inc released corrected data involving its cystic fibrosis treatments on Tuesday that lowered the number of patients who showed certain levels of improved lung function, sending its shares down more than 22 percent.

The initial data, released earlier this month, sent Vertex shares soaring on hopes the company could have a multibillion-dollar franchise in the treatment of cystic fibrosis, a life-threatening genetic disorder that affects about 70,000 people worldwide.

May 25, 2012

Analysis: HMO stocks may struggle over health claim costs

NEW YORK (Reuters) – Americans’ low use of healthcare services has proved a boon to health insurers over the past two years, reducing medical claim costs and raising profits. The growing view on Wall Street is that those days are over.

A series of first-quarter earnings disappointments for health insurers in the past month has damped hopes for a repeat of the profit windfalls that led to huge stock gains in 2011.

May 24, 2012

Express sees early benefits from Medco deal

NEW YORK (Reuters) – After years of trying to convince potential clients of its superiority over chief rival Medco, Express Scripts Holding Co (ESRX.O: Quote, Profile, Research, Stock Buzz) is now finding the company it bought for $29 billion was doing a lot of things right.

Express Scripts is less than two months into digesting its massive acquisition that made it the clear leader in managing drug benefits for Americans, doubling the number of prescriptions it processes a year to about 1.5 billion.

May 17, 2012

Specialty drug costs a major employer worry: survey

By Lewis Krauskopf

(Reuters) – Employers want to step up programs to encourage healthier behavior among their workers and to control spending on expensive injected specialty medicines, according to a survey by pharmacy benefit manager Express Scripts Holding Co.

Cost is increasingly a concern as employers formulate their prescription drug plans, according to the survey of more than 300 benefit officials.

May 15, 2012

Amerisource CEO eyes international expansion

NEW YORK (Reuters) – Drug wholesaler AmerisourceBergen Corp (ABC.N: Quote, Profile, Research, Stock Buzz) is seeking to generate one-fifth of its profits outside the United States within the next decade, helped by a new acquisition and potential future deals, its top executive said on Tuesday.

Amerisource completed earlier this month its $520 million purchase of privately held World Courier Group, the largest deal in its history.

    • 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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