PHARMACY

Discount Drug Mart exits PBM business

BY Michael Johnsen

ROCKVILLE, Md. HealthExtras, a pharmacy benefit management company, on Tuesday announced the acquisition of the PBM Immediate Pharmaceutical Services from Discount Drug Mart for $40 million.

“The acquisition of IPS is the culmination of a comprehensive evaluation of a number of mail service pharmacies,” stated David Blair, HealthExtras chief executive officer. “While there were several potential acquisition candidates, the quality and efficiencies of IPS, coupled with the scalability of its operations, makes it a superb platform for building our mail service capability.”

IPS operates a state-of-the-art prescription mail service fulfillment center located in Avon Lake, Ohio, a western suburb of Cleveland.

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PHARMACY

AIDS expert calls for increased funding, testing

BY Drew Buono

MEXICO CITY Michael Weinstein, president of AIDS Healthcare Foundation, said that the United States must immediately appropriate $200 million in order to test 10 million people for the deadly disease over the next three years.

“Without an accurate picture of the epidemic, vastly underestimated for the past ten years, we have missed countless opportunities to intervene with effective public health strategies,” noted Weinstein.

He further stated that, “Identifying all those who are infected and linking them to treatment, is the only way to break the chain of new infections and begin to address the nation’s runaway epidemic.”

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Two M.D.s plead guilty to illegal $126 million Internet pharmacy

BY Drew Buono

WASHINGTON Two California doctors have pleaded guilty to conspiracy for their participation in an illegal Internet pharmacy business. The business, according to the Department of Justice, generated more than $126 million in revenue from sales.

The business, known as Affpower, involved Chandresh Shah and Gerald Morris, both M.D.s, who pleaded guilty back on July 8. The two, along with 16 other defendants were indicted on July 27.

According to the indictment, the Affpower enterprise sold controlled and non-controlled prescription drugs through numerous affiliated Web sites to customers who lacked prescriptions for the drugs from a personal physician. From August 2004 to June 2006, the Affpower enterprise allegedly received more than one million Internet orders for controlled and non-controlled prescription pharmaceuticals from customers in all 50 U.S. states.

Morris and Shah admitted Affpower enterprise doctors conducted no physical or mental examinations before issuing prescriptions, had no contact with customers and had no physician-patient relationship with any customer for whom the doctors prescribed drugs.

The trials are scheduled to take place in March and April.

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