PHARMACY

Teva launches generic Exforge tabs

BY Ryan Chavis

JERUSALEM — Teva Pharmaceutical Industries announced the launch of generic Exforge (amlodipine and valsartan) tablets in the United States. The drug will be offered in four different dosage strengths. 
 
Exforge tablets — marketed by Novartis — are indicated for the treatment of high blood pressure. The drug had annual sales in the United States of $409 million as of January 2015, according to IMS data. 
 
Additionally, Mylan and Sandoz on Tuesday also launched generic versions of Exforge tablets and will also offer it in four dosage strengths. 

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UnitedHealth Group beefs up PBM business with merger agreement

BY Antoinette Alexander

NEW YORK and SCHAUMBURG, Ill. — OptumRx, UnitedHealth Group’s freestanding pharmacy care services business, and Catamaran, a provider of PBM services and technology solutions, have agreed to combine in a $12.8 billion deal.

The agreement calls for the acquisition of Catamaran’s outstanding common stock for $61.50 per share in cash. The transaction is expected to close during the fourth quarter of 2015, subject to Catamaran shareholders’ approval, regulatory approvals and other customary closing conditions.

The acquisition is expected to be accretive to UnitedHealth Group’s net earnings in the area of $0.30 per share in 2016. UnitedHealth Group plans to finance the acquisition from existing cash resources and new debt. The company affirmed its $6.00 to $6.25 per share earnings outlook assuming the absorption of all merger costs, the ongoing commitment to advance its dividend policy as planned, and a continued but moderated level of share repurchase.

Upon closing, Mark Thierer, Catamaran’s chairman and CEO, will serve as CEO of OptumRx and Timothy Wicks, the current CEO of OptumRx, will become president. Jeff Park, who currently serves Catamaran as EVP, operations, will become the COO for OptumRx. Jeffrey Grosklags, currently the CFO of OptumRx, will continue in that role.

OptumRx’s advanced Clinical Synchronization approach connects pharmacy and care management systems, processes and teams to create deeper insights for patient outcomes and savings for individuals and plan sponsors. Synchronization presents the entire patient health profile, rather than discrete pieces of an individual’s profile.

Catamaran offers retail pharmacy network management, mail service pharmacy, pharmacy claims management and patient-centric specialty pharmacy services to a broad client portfolio, including health plans and employers, as well as health care information technology solutions to the industry.

Both companies have specialty pharmacy services businesses. The combined organization will help customers manage the complex costs and outcomes as this portion of the pharmaceutical market expands from an estimated $100 billion in revenues in 2014 to potentially $400 billion annually by 2020.

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APhA Foundation endows the William H. Briner Award with support from the National Association of Nuclear Pharmacies

BY Antoinette Alexander

WASHINGTON — The American Pharmacists Association Foundation announced from the APhA Annual Meeting and Exposition in San Diego, the completed endowment of the APhA-Academy of Pharmacy Practice and Management William H. Briner Distinguished Nuclear Pharmacy Practice Award with a $37,000 pledge from the National Association of Nuclear Pharmacies.  

"The National Association of Nuclear Pharmacies is proud to be the Premier Supporter of the APhA-APPM William H. Briner Distinguished Achievement Award in Nuclear Pharmacy Practice," said executive director and chairman of NANP, Jeff Norenberg. "Through this support, NANP seeks to ensure the enduring recognition of nuclear pharmacist practitioners who have made distinguished contributions to promote best practices in the specialized practice of nuclear pharmacy. For more than 30 years, the NANP has worked in close partnership with APhA to promote and advance the profession of nuclear pharmacy and to ensure patient access to safe, reliable, and effective radiopharmaceuticals."

Established in 1997, the award was renamed in 2000 in honor of Captain William H. Briner, a radiopharmacist who helped bring the practice of pharmacy to nuclear medicine. The award annually recognizes the achievements of an individual who has made a significant contribution or sustained contributions to the provision of pharmaceutical care within the practice areas represented by the APhA-APPM Section on Nuclear Pharmacy Practice. The 2015 recipient is Richard Nickel, a research pharmacist at Saint Louis University.

"The legacy of Captain Briner lives on through his influence on the principles and procedures of nuclear pharmacy, and through the contributions of the recipients of the award named in his honor," said Mark Soffing, APhA-APPM Nuclear Pharmacy Special Interest Group chair. "We are grateful for the NANP's premier support of the award, which will allow us to continue to recognize practitioners who shape the future of nuclear pharmacy practice."

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