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Sara Lee adds to Desserts line

BY Ryan Chavis

CHICAGO — Sara Lee, a brand from Tyson Foods, last week announced the addition of two new flavors to its line of Desserts pound cakes. The two cakes — Blueberry Pound Cake and Gingerbread Pound Cake — may now be purchased in the freezer section of grocery stores across the country, the brand said.
 
“Sara Lee Pound Cake has been a beloved product in kitchens for more than 60 years and is America’s favorite frozen pound cake,” said Jeff Kemerley, senior brand manager, Sara Lee Desserts. “To expand upon our pound cake’s rich heritage, we’re bringing the popular flavors of blueberry and gingerbread to consumers for more ways to indulge with this sweet treat.”
 
The suggested retail price for a 10.3-oz. pound cake is $3.99.
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Impax Labs acquires Tower Holdings for $700 million

BY Michael Johnsen

 

HAYWARD, Calif. — Impax Labs last week announced the execution of a definitive agreement under which Impax will acquire Tower Holdings, including operating subsidiaries CorePharma and Amedra Pharmaceuticals, and Lineage Therapeutics for $700 million in cash, subject to certain customary purchase price adjustments. 
 
The privately-held companies being acquired specialize in the development, manufacture and commercialization of complex generic and branded pharmaceutical products. The transaction will provide Impax with a profitable and growing commercialized portfolio of products that are expected to generate full year 2014 revenues of approximately $215 million to $225 million. 
 
"This transaction is an important step forward in executing our plan to drive growth and create value through strategic acquisitions that enhance our existing strategies," stated Fred Wilkinson, president and CEO of Impax. "The companies will add a growing, highly profitable, commercial portfolio of generics as well as a lead product in a new brand franchise, which will enhance our brand division and enable us to utilize our brand commercial infrastructure more efficiently. The acquisition also adds a branded and generic pipeline that includes a number of near-term opportunities. In addition, Impax will gain an established campus in New Jersey focused on R&D, manufacturing, packaging and supply chain management. Further, this accretive transaction will move Impax to a more efficient capital structure, while also preserving our ability to pursue additional external strategic growth opportunities."
 
Christopher Worrell, CEO Tower Holdings, Amedra and Lineage, said: "We are pleased with the progress we have made across our companies with an emphasis on the successful implementation of a Quality Improvement Program, which resulted in recent product approvals from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. Both Impax and the companies have a proven record of developing high value specialty products, and we look forward to being a critical contributor to the future growth strategy and value creation for Impax."
 

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Congress to investigate ‘soaring generic drug prices’

BY Michael Johnsen

BURLINGTON, Vt. — U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., and U.S. Rep. Elijah Cummings, D-Md., earlier this month launched an investigation into soaring generic drug prices.
 
“We are conducting an investigation into the recent staggering price increases for generic drugs used to treat everything from common medical conditions to life-threatening illnesses,” Sanders, chairman of a Senate health care subcommittee, and Cummings, ranking member of the House oversight committee, wrote in letters to 14 pharmaceutical companies.
 
They pointed, for example, to the price hike for Albuterol Sulfate used to treat asthma and other lung conditions. The average cost for a bottle of 100 pills was $11 last October. The average charge by this April had shot up to $434. An antibiotic, Doxycycline Hyclate, cost $20 last October for a bottle of 500 tablets. By April, the price was $1,849.
 
The price data on those and other generic drugs came from the private Washington, D.C.-based Healthcare Supply Chain Association. It surveyed average prices paid by organizations that help hospitals, nursing homes and home health agencies negotiate with pharmaceutical companies and other vendors for discounts. The figures are akin to wholesale prices, not the amount patients are charged.
 
Cummings and Sanders cited a survey that found pharmacists across the country “have seen huge upswings in generic drug prices that are hurting patients” and having a “very significant” impact on pharmacists’ ability to continue serving patients. The study for the National Community Pharmacists Association also found some patients refused to fill needed prescriptions because of rising prices.
 
“It is unacceptable that Americans pay, by far, the highest prices in the world for prescription drugs. Generic drugs were meant to help make medications affordable for the millions of Americans who rely on prescriptions to manage their health needs. We’ve got to get to the bottom of these enormous price increases,” Sanders said.
 
“When you see how much the prices of these drugs have increased just over the past year, it’s staggering, and we want to know why,” said Cummings. “I am very pleased that Chairman Sanders has joined me in this bicameral investigation because in some cases these outrageous price hikes are preventing patients from getting the drugs they need.”
 
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