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Helping independents compete in specialty pharmacy, Cardinal Health launches new suite of services at RBC 2013

BY Alaric DeArment

SEATTLE — By now, even a quick look at drug companies’ product pipelines and patient demographics should make it clear that specialty drugs are where it’s at.

According to pharmacy benefit manager Express Scripts, the market for drugs used to treat complex, rare and serious conditions like cancer, HIV/AIDS, hepatitis C, autoimmune disorders and rare genetic diseases is set to grow by 67% by the end of 2015.

With that in mind, Cardinal Health announced Friday the launch of the Specialty Pharmacy Alliance, a new suite of services designed to make it easier for community pharmacies to improve patients’ access to specialty drugs and adherence to them. Specialty drugs usually require specialized handling, dispensing, administration and patient counseling, and adherence to prescribed therapies is critical for patients. The medications are often described as high-cost and high-touch because of the clinical and financial complexities of the therapies. That means specialty pharmacy is a lot of work not just for patients, but also for the pharmacies serving them.

"Recognizing that very few in this room have the desire, capital and risk tolerance to create a specialty pharmacy, Cardinal Health has endeavored to provide an alternative," Cardinal Health Pharmaceutical Segment president for U.S. pharmaceutical distribution Jon Giacomin said in a speech Friday at Cardinal’s Retail Business Conference in Seattle. "At RBC, we are introducing a specialty drug solution called Cardinal Health Specialty Pharmacy Alliance. Contracting with Specialty Pharmacy Alliance gives you the ability to dispense specialty prescriptions in those cases where you are eligible to purchase the medication."

Cardinal Health does this through its Maryland-based, URAC-accredited specialty pharmacy, OncoSource Rx. It’s staffed by certified pharmacists and technicians, every day of the year, around the clock, and the services it offers are available to any retail pharmacy in the United States. The pharmacy’s team can manage prior authorization and co-pay assistance to help patients navigate the process of approval by their pharmacy benefit manager; dispense specialty drugs and adjudicate related claims, including dispensing drugs available only through limited-distribution networks but not through retail pharmacies; help pharmacies fulfill patient prescriptions at the local level; provide individualized patient care coordination, including training on self-administration and management of complex adherence guidelines; and work with the patient, physician and PBM to order and process refills.

"Specialty Pharmacy Alliance aims to enhance the relationship between patients and their community pharmacies," Giacomin said. "Our goal is to make it easier for retail pharmacies to provide their patients with convenient access to specialty medications and related support while also reinforcing their role as their community’s most accessible, most trusted local healthcare resource."

To keep up with all the news from Cardinal Health RBC 2013, visit DrugStoreNews.com/Cardinal-Health-Retail-Business-Conference-2013.


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J.ROACHE says:
Aug-16-2013 11:38 am

I am an independent specialty pharmacy in Southern California and a significant size customer of Cardinal Health. I have never heard of the Specialty Pharmacy Alliance. How do I join and begin enjoying the benefits of this new service provided by my primary wholesaler?

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The Original Brownie Brittle founder to appear on Lifetime’s new ‘Supermarket Superstar’ TV show

BY Jason Owen

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. — This summer, Sheila G. Mains, founder and CEO of Brownie Brittle LLC, and creator of Sheila G’s Original Brownie Brittle snacks, will join Lifetime Network as she makes a guest appearance on its all-new reality series "Supermarket Superstar" (10:30pm EDT).

Each episode will follow three home cooks who believe they have the next great product that deserves to hit supermarket shelves. On Thursday, August 15th, Mains will appear as a special guest mentor to these aspiring entrepreneurs. The home cooks will pitch their food products to a panel of industry experts for that once-in-a-lifetime chance to have their creation launched in grocery stores across the nation.

"I’m thrilled to hear pitches for exciting new gourmet food product ideas from the contestants on this season’s Supermarket Superstar," said Mains. "I’ve been in their shoes, growing my brownie business from our start in my home kitchen to our eventual success with Brownie Brittle snacks on store shelves around the world."

Supermarket Superstar gives home cooks the chance at fulfilling their dream of having their food product distributed nationwide. The show’s contestants have sacrificed a lot to take part in this unique experience and only a home cook’s product will end up winning the competition. Behind every great recipe is a great story just like that of Mains.

Mains started her brownie company in 1992 after losing her executive position with an industrial advertising agency. Refusing to be just another Friday afternoon casualty, Mains embarked on her "Plan B (Brownie)." Armed with her passion for sweet treats and scrumptious samples, Mains began selling her brownies to local corporations and retail stores. In 1994, Mains’ brownies were discovered by one of the executive chefs at a major theme park.

When the economy took a downturn in 2009, Mains found herself in need of another "Plan B (Brownie)" or in this case "Plan BB (Brownie Brittle)." Americans were no longer saving money for their next theme park vacation; they were instead trying to save their homes. So, Mains took her love of the crisp brownie edges to market.

Using the wisdom from her brownie business and Brownie Brittle snack brand, Mains will coach the contestants by offering tips and tricks that are unique to the specialty food production world. The winner of each episode will win $10,000 cash and $100,000 worth of product development, and the season finale winner’s products will hit shelves at a major grocer nationwide.

Since April of 2011, Sheila G’s Original Brownie Brittle snack has been available on thousands of stores shelves in multiple countries and has been decorated with numerous awards. The top two awards include "The Best New Snack Product of 2012" from the National Confectionery Sales Association and finalist in the Sweets & Snacks Expo’s 2012 "Most Innovative Products Award."  Available in chocolate chip, mint chocolate chip, salted caramel and toffee crunch flavors, Brownie Brittle snacks are available at major retailers.


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PwC report: Retailer, consumer M&A activity could increase for remainder of 2013

BY Antoinette Alexander

NEW YORK — Despite a slowdown in U.S. retail and consumer merger and acquisition activity in second quarter 2013, there are signs that M&A activity could experience an uptick for the remainder of 2013, according to PwC’s U.S. retail and consumer deals insights Q2 2013 report released on Thursday.

In the second quarter of 2013, there were a total of 21 deals worth $50 million or more in the retail and consumer sector, accounting for $5.4 billion in deal value, a 49% decrease in volume and 90% decrease in value from the 41 deals worth $40.5 billion during second quarter 2012, according to the report. The decrease in deal activity is primarily a result of the lack of large deals in Q2 of 2013 compared with the prior year, during which time there were several large deals. There was only one mega deal (worth more than $1 billion) in the second quarter, as opposed to a trend of four successive quarters with five or more mega deals. Sequentially, deal activity in the retail and consumer sector declined, with the middle market also seeing declines, partially because of the lingering effect of the abnormally higher deal volume during Q4 of 2012 due to the impending fiscal cliff, along with the several mega deals seen in the first quarter of 2013, according to PwC.

"Coming off the heels of one of the largest retail and consumer deals in history in the first quarter of 2013, the declines we saw in the second quarter will likely be temporary as the pipeline for deals resets from the flurry of activity we’ve seen in the last few quarters," stated Leanne Sardiga, partner and PwC’s U.S. retail and consumer deals leader. "The second half of 2013 looks promising for M&A activity in the industry given the recent pick-up in businesses starting to come to market for sale, although price expectations and seller timelines continue to be a challenge."

Private equity activity was slightly above historical levels in second quarter 2013, as PE buyers continued to invest in the retail and consumer sector, comprising 24% of deal volume and 38% of deal value, which is relatively consistent with historical averages of 27% and 30%, respectively.

The trend towards omnichannel retailing continues to contribute to deal activity in the sector as retailers look at opportunities to transform their business and capabilities, focusing on innovation. Key activity in the omnichannel space in the second quarter included several acquisitions of ecommerce retail service companies. And PwC noted that it expects to see increased activity in this area as investors see opportunity to gain a competitive advantage through technology for data analytics.

Retail and consumer IPO activity continues the momentum seen in the first quarter, far outpacing levels seen in 2012. Total proceeds in the second quarter of 2013 were $2.1 billion, up 161% from the second quarter of 2012 (proceeds of $795 million) and up 18% from the first quarter of 2013 (proceeds of $1.8 billion). Average deal size continued to increase in the second quarter as well, with an average deal size of $345 million for the six IPOs completed in the quarter, compared with $292 million for the six in the first quarter of 2013. According to PwC, in the overall IPO markets, R&C had the largest one-day average returns of any sector.

"While second-quarter activity was relatively slow compared to the activity we’ve been seeing, the deals announced remain consistent with themes PwC has highlighted previously, including private equity investment in retail and activity in nonstore retailing. Regionally, we expect to see continued cross-border retail activity as companies try to access certain demographics in the global marketplace," Sardiga said.

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