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NYT: Inversion becoming a hot topic among Fortune 500 companies

BY Michael Johnsen

NEW YORK — With Pfizer’s targeted takeover of AstraZeneca, there’s been much talk about inversion, or the practice of re-domiciling a company’s headquarters to another country in an effort to save on corporate taxes. It’s a hot topic among Fortune 500 companies, The New York Times noted earlier this week, reporting that at least 17 companies have reached out to their banks to explore possible inversion-inspired acquisitions. 

The talk has extended to the Walgreens/Alliance Boots deal — beginning in February 2015 Walgreens will have six months to decide whether or not to acquire Alliance Boots outright — though Walgreens has not given any indication that it’s considering an inversion. 

During the company’s last conference call on March 25, president and CEO Greg Wasson suggested that a Walgreens inversion was not up for consideration. "We have no plans to … do an inversion or re-domicile the company," he told analysts. "What we are focused on frankly is [making] sure that we put our board and our shareholders into position to make the right decision on step two."

"We regularly meet with our investors and always welcome their input," Walgreens spokesman Michael Polzin shared with DSN. "Over the past year, we have made significant progress in our strategic partnership with Alliance Boots as we move toward the window for exercising the second step of our transaction. Our focus is always on analyzing and doing what is in the best long-term interest of our company and its shareholders, and when we have something more definitive to announce about our future structure and strategies, we will do so."

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Greenstone launches rifabutin capsules

BY Ryan Chavis

PEAPACK, N.J. — Greenstone, a U.S.-based generic pharmaceutical subsidiary of Pfizer, announced the introduction of rifabutin capsules to its product line. The capsules are offered in the dosage strength of 150-mg x 100.

The drug is the authorized generic version of Mycobutin and is used for the prevention of disseminated mycobacterium avium complex disease in patients with advanced HIV infection.

 

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Hunger for organic continues to grow

BY Ryan Chavis

WASHINGTON — A new survey from the Organic Trade Association reveals that Americans are hungry for more organic products, with sales in the United States leaping to $35.1 billion in 2013, which represents a 11.5% increase from the previous year. And the desire for organic products is not expected to let up any time soon, the association said.

"The U.S. organic market is experiencing strong expansion, with organic food and farming continuing to gain in popularity. Consumers are making the correlation between what we eat and our health, and that knowledge is spurring heightened consumer interest in organic products," said Laura Batcha, executive director and CEO of OTA.

Organic food was once a niche industry in the vast food sector, but purchases broke through the $30 million mark in 2012 and now make up more than 4% of the $760 billion annual food sales in the United States. Organic fruits and vegetables lead the category with $11.6 billion in sales. The organic condiments category showed the strongest growth at 17% with sales of $830 million.

Other growth areas included:

  • Organic bread and grain sales, up 12% to $3.8 billion;
  • Organic meat, poultry and fish sales, up 11% to $675 million; and
  • Organic packaged and prepared food sector, up 10% to $4.8 billion.

The industry does face some roadblocks, though. Farmland across the country isn’t being converted quickly enough to meet growing demand for organic products. Supplies of organic feed and grain also have been costly, which could restrict growth in the organic dairy and meat sectors. There’s also a bit of confusion on the consumer side as to what the term "organic" actually means.

"The entire organic industry needs to rally around helping consumers better understand and appreciate all the values that certified organic brings to the table," Batcha said. "Consumer education is critical to grow the organic industry."

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