PHARMACY

Assurant Health announces benefits partnership with Take Care

BY Antoinette Alexander

MILWAUKEE Assurant Health has announced that its health plan members can now receive in-network benefits at all Take Care Clinics.

With the addition of the 322 Take Care Clinics, which are located within Walgreens stores, Assurant Health customers with Individual Medical, Short Term Medical and Real Choices Small Group plans have access to more than 800 retail health clinics throughout the United States.

“This agreement is part of our continuing commitment to give our customers more choices and convenient access to affordable health care options,” said Scott Krienke, SVP of product lines for Assurant Health.

Added Peter Miller, president and CEO of Take Care Health Systems, “Our goal is to provide access to care to as many individuals as possible. Partnering with companies like Assurant Health allows us to offer our model of care to more individuals across the country, and this national contract sets the stage for continued coverage as we expand our model to new markets and states.”

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GSK completes acquisition of Stiefel

BY Allison Cerra

LONDON A drug maker has announced it has completed the acquisition of a company specializing in skin care.

GlaxoSmithKline announced that it has completed its acquisition of Stiefel Labs. GSK has acquired the total share capital of Stiefel for a cash consideration of $2.9 billion. GSK also assumed $0.4 billion of net debt. Under the terms of the agreement, GSK may be obligated to make additional cash payments of up to $0.3 billion depending on the future performance of the business. The new dermatology business unit within GSK will operate under the name Stiefel, a GSK company.

“The Stiefel acquisition demonstrates how we are implementing our strategy to grow and diversify our business through targeted acquisitions,” Deirdre Connelly, president North American Pharmaceuticals at GSK. “We now have established a new world-leading, specialist dermatology business that will immediately generate new revenue flows to GSK.”

Charles Stiefel, Chairman of Stiefel, said, “As part of GSK, we are stronger, more competitive and continue to be a driving force in dermatology around the world. We are excited to combine GSK’s prescription dermatology products, such as Bactroban, Cutivate and Altabax, with Stiefel’s portfolio, including brands such as Duac, Olux E and Soriatane. This combined portfolio, together with our specialty sales force and GSK’s global presence, positions GSK’s dermatology business for significant growth.”

Sales of Stiefel’s products for 2008 were approximately $900 million and sales of GSK’s prescription dermatology products were approximately $550 million. The combined pro forma revenues of approximately $1.5 billion, represent an 8% share of the global prescription dermatology market.

Stiefel is committed to improving and developing new treatments and has a robust development pipeline, with more than 15 projects in late-stage development across a wide variety of such dermatological conditions as acne, dermatoses and fungal infection. The business unit also has access to significant innovative and proprietary formulation technologies.

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Trial for MS drug should continue, company’s DSMB says

BY Alaric DeArment

EDMONTON, Alberta An independent data safety monitoring board has recommended that a phase 3 trial for a multiple sclerosis drug continue.

BioMS Medical Corp. announced Tuesday that the DSMB for its pivotal phase 3 trial of the drug dirucotide in patients with secondary progressive MS has completed its safety analysis and recommended the continuation. This was the fourth of several regularly scheduled reviews by the DSMB, BioMS said.

The study is a randomized, double-blind study that has completed recruitment of more than 500 patients at 67 clinical sites who will receive either dirucotide or placebo intravenously every six months for the next two years.

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