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P&G announces ‘in line’ Q1 results, plans to exit battery business

BY Antoinette Alexander

CINCINNATI — Procter & Gamble posted first-quarter results in line with expectations, and announced plans to shed its Duracell battery business as it works to restructure its portfolio.

“We continue to accelerate and increase productivity savings, sharpen our strategies and strengthen our portfolio by focusing on our biggest opportunities. The pet care divestiture and exit of the battery business will allow us to further focus these efforts,” stated P&G CEO A.G. Lafley.

On the heels of the divesture of its pet business in July to Mars, Inc., P&G is now looking to exit the Duracell business in a two-step process. The first step was finalizing an agreement to sell its interest in a China-based battery joint venture, which it accomplished in late August. Now, P&G is planning to exit the Duracell business and is hoping to split off the business into a stand-alone company.

“We greatly appreciate the contributions of our Duracell employees. Since we acquired the business in 2005 as part of Gillette, Duracell has strengthened its position as the global market leader in the battery category,” stated Lafley. “It’s a business with attractive operating profit margins and a history of strong cash generation. I’m confident the business and its employees will continue to thrive as its own company.”

Net sales during the quarter totaled $20.8 billion, essentially unchanged compared with the year-ago period. Organic sales grew 2%.

Net income dropped 34% to $1.99 billion during the quarter. Diluted net earnings per share were 69 cents, including non-core items. Excluding items, earnings per share were $1.07.

In beauty, hair and persona care, organic sales were unchanged as pricing benefits from prior year increases across all business units were offset by lower prestige volume.

In the grooming segment, organic sales were unchanged as higher pricing and innovation on blades and razors and higher volume in appliances from innovation were offset by lower blades and razors volume in developed regions, the company stated.

 

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U.S. District Court rules in favor of patent protecting Pfizer’s Sutent

BY Michael Johnsen

NEW YORK — Pfizer on Thursday announced that the U.S. District Court for the District of Delaware upheld its basic patent and the L-malate salt patent covering Sutent (sunitinib malate) capsules. This decision, which is subject to appeal, affirms Pfizer’s right to exclusively provide sunitinib malate as Sutent to patients through the term of the patent, which expires in 2021.
 
“The Court’s decision acknowledges the validity and infringement of our patents and affirms the value of Sutent, a standard of care in the treatment of advanced renal cell carcinoma,” said Douglas Lankler, EVP and general counsel for Pfizer. “Defending our intellectual property is crucial to our ability to discover and develop innovative new medicines, which is at the very core of what we do.”
 
Pfizer filed suit in June 2010 after Mylan Pharmaceuticals applied to the Food and Drug Administration to market a generic version of Sutent prior to the expiration of the patents covering sunitinib malate and its uses. After a four-day trial, the Court agreed that Mylan infringed the valid patents covering Sutent.
 
The patents at issue are U.S. Patent Nos.6,573,293 and 7,125,905.
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New McKesson solution guards against data breaches

BY Michael Johnsen

AUSTIN, Texas — McKesson Pharmacy Systems and Automation on Thursday announced the launch of its new SecureHIPAA solution this week at the National Community Pharmacists Association’s 116th Annual Convention and Trade Exposition. The new solution helps pharmacies reduce their risk of experiencing a data security breach and helps them learn how to be HIPAA compliant. McKesson developed the solution with security and compliance company, ANXeBusiness Corp.
 
“Security breaches are occurring more frequently and protecting patient’s health information is more important than ever,” stated Joe Ross, business services product manager, MPS&A. “SecureHIPAA equips pharmacy owners with information and tools on how they can lessen their chance of experiencing a data security breach.”
 
SecureHIPAA helps pharmacies identify potential security gaps and provides information on how owners can alleviate those gaps. This aspect of the new program allows pharmacy owners to be proactive in helping to prevent data breaches from occurring in their pharmacies. It also provides up to $100,000 of HIPAA data breach protection services in the event a breach does occur.
 
There were significant updates to HIPAA in 2013, including changes to the definitions of terms, privacy, security, breach notification and enforcement rules. The new changes are documented in over 500 pages that explain new standards pharmacies must make to their HIPAA forms, agreements and documents.
 
“SecureHIPAA helps pharmacies navigate through the new requirements by providing online training, HIPAA compliance assessments and templates that help pharmacies create HIPAA compliant forms and documents,” Ross said.
 
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