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CVS Caremark acquires Universal American

BY Antoinette Alexander

WOONSOCKET, R.I. — CVS Caremark is more than doubling the size of its Medicare Part D program by acquiring the Medicare Part D business of Universal American for roughly $1.25 billion.

Universal American’s Part D business currently serves about 1.9 million Medicare PDP members, while CVS Caremark serves roughly 1.2 million Medicare PDP members. This reflects current levels of membership and does not include 2011 auto assignment or the results of the annual enrollment period, which ended Dec. 31, 2010.

“[Today’s] transaction furthers CVS Caremark’s position as a significant player in one of the nation’s fastest-growing segments of the pharmacy benefit management industry. A growing portion of the country’s population will receive their prescription drug coverage under Medicare plans, driven both by age demographics and the anticipated shift of retirees from employer-based coverage to Medicare that will likely result from healthcare reform,” stated Per Lofberg, president of Caremark Pharmacy Services.

“The Medicare Part D program is integral to CVS Caremark’s long-term growth strategy," Lofberg added. "We believe that bringing together these two businesses will strengthen our competitive offerings, enabling us to provide Medicare beneficiaries with expanded products and services and lower the cost of pharmacy care.”

CVS Caremark expected the deal to be accretive to earnings per share in its first full year, and it is not expected to impact the previously announced dividend growth and share buyback initiatives.

The deal is expected to close by the end of the second quarter. Universal American also operates a Medicare Advantage business, which will be spun off to Universal American shareholders as a separate company at the time of closing.

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Ideavillage, Criss Angel bring ‘magic of the season’ to needy kids

BY Drug Store News Report

WAYNE, N.J. — Ideavillage donated 150,000 Criss Angel magic trick gifts — valued at more than $1 million — to the Boys and Girls Clubs of America and the Make A Wish Foundation. The gifts were distributed to thousands of locations across the United States, in time for Christmas.

Company executives joined the famous TV magician for a special Christmas week visit to the Las Vegas Boys and Girls Club to hand-deliver a portion of the gifts. Leaving the kids with a message to “work hard, believe anything is possible and to always do the right thing,” Angel, caught in the moment, spontaneously decided to give each of the 113 kids in attendance an additional $100 gift. “I’ve been blessed beyond my wildest dreams. My mission in life is to try to be a positive force and help others in anyway I can,” Angel said.

Ideavillage CEO Andy Khubani — himself a father of five — said, “It is a blessing to be able to share the magic with those in need. That is the magic of the season.”

In related news, Angel will debut a new online magic clinic for aspiring magicians. Beginning in January 2011 Angel’s “magicJAM” will be broadcast live on Saturdays at 4:30 p.m. EST via CrissAngel.com.

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Report: New Target ads take aim at broader group of new parents

BY Drug Store News Report

NEW YORK — Target will kick off a new ad campaign in 2011 that makes a tongue-in-cheek, if not frank and honest, appeal to new parents, according to a report by AdAge.

“I just had a 20-minute conversation with a stranger about nipples,” reads one of the print ads, which the article noted are “meant to illustrate the chaos, humor and absurdness that are hallmarks of parenting.”

"Before, we took a point of view that focused more on idealism, frankly," Target’s VP marketing Will Setliff told AdAge. "The original creative was appealing and showed really beautiful moments that people can relate to. And there can be moments like that. But it’s not, I think, what makes up the bulk of parenthood."

The ads also are meant to make a more universal appeal to a broader group of parents at a time when “most marketers are still filling advertisements with young American mothers sporting wedding bands, even though plenty of today’s moms were born and raised outside of the United States, are in nontraditional marital situations and are in [their] 30s or 40s,” AdAge reported.

In somewhat related news, Target announced Wednesday that it will use electronic billboards in New York’s Times Square and at Los Angeles’ Hollywood and Highland Center to share birth announcements submitted via Facebook from new parents.

As part of the program, which Target is calling its “Big Baby Billboard,” parents can visit Facebook.com/TargetBaby to create their own free, digital birth announcement, which features the child’s name, birth date and weight presented in a type style that is reminiscent of colorful children’s refrigerator magnets. The announcements can be shared via Facebook, Twitter and e-mail, and parents can submit their announcements to be featured on either the New York or Los Angeles message boards.

"Technology plays an important role in how Target’s guests share and receive information and our Target Baby Facebook page serves as an excellent resource for new and expectant parents," Setliff said. "We’re excited to tap into our guests’ online behaviors to provide them with a fun, relevant way to celebrate the birth of their child — whether that’s with friends and family, on an oversized magnetic billboard in Los Angeles or in the heart of our nation’s biggest city."

The promotion will run from News Years Eve through Jan. 6, 2011; in Los Angeles, it will run during mall hours from Jan. 1 to Jan. 5, 2011.
 

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