PHARMACY

Valeant, Biovail to merge

BY Alaric DeArment

TORONTO U.S. drug maker Valeant and Canadian drug maker Biovail will merge, the two companies said Monday.

The combined company will carry the name Valeant Pharmaceuticals International but will have its headquarters in Mississauga, Ontario. Valeant is currently based in Aliso Viejo, Calif.

Under the agreement, Valeant stockholders will receive $16.77 per share immediately before the merger’s closing and, after its closing, 1.78 shares of Biovail stock for every share of Valeant stock they own. After the merger closes, Biovail shareholders will own around 50.5% and Valeant shareholders will own 49.5% of the combined company.

Biovail is known mostly for such specialty drugs as the antidepressant Wellbutrin XL (bupropion), while Valeant’s range of branded and branded generic drugs include the acne treatment Acanya Gel (clindamycin phosphate and benzoyl peroxide).

Valeant CEO J. Michael Pearson will reside in Barbados as the new CEO, while Biovail CEO Bill Wells will be nonexecutive chairman. The company’s 11-member board of directors will include five representatives from Biovail, five from Valeant and one independent Canadian resident director.

“This compelling combination will create tremendous value for stockholders of both companies as our business benefits from cost savings, greater scale, efficiencies from extending Biovail’s corporate structure and enhanced financial strength and flexibility,” Pearson said.

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Walgreens, CVS Caremark announce new PBM network agreement

BY Allison Cerra

WOONSOCKET, R.I., and DEERFIELD, Ill. The nation’s top drug store chains have reached a new agreement in which one will continue as a participating member of the other’s pharmacy benefit management network.

Nearly two weeks after Walgreens announced that it would terminate its provider relationship with CVS Caremark’s PBM network — to which CVS Caremark responded it would terminate Walgreens’ participation in its retail pharmacy networks in 30 days for violating contract agreements — the two pharmacy giants have reached an agreement in which Walgreens will continue participating in the CVS Caremark pharmacy benefit management national retail network for existing, new or renewal plans. With the continuing participation of Walgreens, the CVS Caremark national pharmacy network will have more than 64,000 participating pharmacies, including neighborhood independent pharmacies, chain pharmacies and those located in supermarkets and other major retailers.

The companies are not disclosing the financial terms of the new contract.

“We are very pleased with the outcome of this mutual, multiyear agreement that meets our business objectives,” said Kermit Crawford, Walgreens EVP pharmacy. “The agreement makes good business sense, provides the framework we need to operate our business going forward and assures choice and convenience for the many consumers who look to us for quality pharmacy care. The agreement is good for our patients, pharmacists and shareholders, and will allow us to continue to meet the needs of our customers across the country through the CVS Caremark network.”

Per Lofberg, president of CVS Caremark’s PBM business, added, “We are pleased to have reached a mutually agreeable solution together with Walgreens that is consistent with our top priority to provide convenient access to affordable, high-quality pharmacy health care. This new contract enables Walgreens to continue participating in CVS Caremark’s PBM national pharmacy network, provides enhanced network stability, eliminates any current or long-term disruption for our clients or their members and allows us to continue to fulfill our obligation to deliver cost-effective pharmacy benefits for our clients.”

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Mylan gets approval for generic Zocor

BY Alaric DeArment

PITTSBURGH The Food and Drug Administration has approved a generic cholesterol medication made by Mylan, the company said Friday.

The FDA approved Mylan’s simvastatin tablets in the 5 mg, 10 mg, 20 mg, 40 mg and 80 mg strengths. The drug is a generic version of Merck’s Zocor.

Various versions of Simvastatin had sales of $361 million during the 12-month period ended in March, according to IMS Health.

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