PHARMACY

Crossmark, MPG form MPG Drug

BY Allison Cerra

NEW YORK — Crossmark and Market Performance Group are looking to optimize their role in the drug industry through a new venture.

The companies announced that they have merged their respective chain drug sales businesses to form MPG Drug, which will be a division of Crossmark. With this merger, MPG Drug now will be the largest provider of headquarter sales and retail services in the U.S. drug industry, the companies said, by providing growth solutions in a timely manner.

"The integration of our capabilities, expertise and strong relationships in this channel allows us to become an industry-leading chain drug specialist," Crossmark’s COO Ben Fischer said. "This new division of Crossmark positively transforms the collective capabilities of both companies, enabling us to lead the way as the sales agency of preference in this channel."

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PHARMACY

Hospira reports Q1

BY Alaric DeArment

LAKE FOREST, Ill. — Hospira had net sales of $1 billion during first quarter 2011, the generic drug maker said Tuesday.

Sales for the quarter, which ended March 31, declined by 0.5%, compared with first quarter 2010, while profits were $149.9 million, a 5.8% increase over last year.

“Hospira started out the year with a stronger-than-expected first quarter, aided by strong U.S. sales of docetaxel and gemcitabine, two major oncolytic pharmaceuticals,” executive chairman and former CEO Christopher Begley said, referring to generic versions of two chemotherapy drugs. “During the quarter, we gained momentum on several of our existing and newly launched specialty pharmaceuticals and made good progress in decreasing our level of backorders to better serve our customers. We remain focused on driving quality enhancements throughout the organization and on improving shareholder value through strong execution and sustainable growth.”

Begley also welcomed new CEO F. Michael Ball, who joined the company on March 28.

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PHARMACY

Report: Specialty pharmaceutical distributors helped industry save billions

BY Alaric DeArment

ARLINGTON, Va. — Distributors of specialty drugs save the healthcare industry an estimated $3.5 billion per year by using extensive measures to ensure safe delivery, according to a new report by the Center for Healthcare Supply Chain Research, the research foundation of the Healthcare Distribution Management Association.

The report, titled “Specialty Pharmaceuticals and the Role of the Specialty Distributor,” indicated that the savings — which total about $8 billion when traditional distributors that handle specialty drugs are included — derive from distributors’ skills in preserving and delivering delicate medicines in high-tech, cold-chain and just-in-time delivery systems.

Unlike traditional pharmaceuticals, specialty drugs — which include biologics that are used to treat such complex and chronic conditions as cancers, orphan diseases and inflammatory disorders — often require special care and must be kept away from excessive heat, humidity and light, and in many cases can’t be shaken.

“This research spotlights the vast and indispensable services that specialty pharmaceutical distributors deliver in the fastest-growing sector of the pharmaceutical industry,” Center for Healthcare Supply Chain Research EVP and COO Karen Ribler said. “They provide lifesaving medicines to many of society’s most vulnerable patients, and they do it with exceptional skill and quality that lowers the cost of health care.”

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