PHARMACY

Watson to acquire generic drug maker

BY Alaric DeArment

MORRISTOWN, N.J. Generic drug maker Watson Pharmaceuticals plans to acquire a privately held generic company.

Watson announced Wednesday that it would acquire Arrow Group for $1.75 billion, saying that the combination of the two companies would give it more than $3 billion in revenue, commercial operations in more than 20 countries and a larger product portfolio and pipeline. Arrow, which Watson called one of the fastest-growing generic pharmaceutical companies in the world, generated $647 million in revenues last year and has about 1,000 employees around the world.

“The acquisition of Arrow will mark a significant milestone in realizing our strategic vision to expand our global footprint and leverage our assets across many developed and emerging markets around the world,” Watson president and CEO Paul Bisaro said. “The combined company will have a global infrastructure and a strong product portfolio and pipeline, which create significant opportunities for long-term growth.”

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NCPA makes recommendations for the Affordable Health Choices Act

BY Alaric DeArment

ALEXANDRIA, Va. An organization representing the country’s independent pharmacies has sent a list of recommendations for healthcare reform to the chairman of the Senate’s healthcare committee.

The National Community Pharmacists Association announced Tuesday that its EVP and CEO Bruce Roberts had sent a letter with five specific recommendations for the Affordable Health Choices Act to Sen. Edward Kennedy, D-Mass., chairman of the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee.

The recommendations address grants establishing community health teams supporting a medical home model, grants for medication management services to treat chronic disease, requirements for pharmacies to provide health insurance, pharmacy exemption for durable medical equipment accreditation and features of the public health plan option.

Roberts wrote that the NCPA supports the requirement that community health teams provide patients with access to pharmacist-delivered medication management therapies in the medical home model provision.

“NCPA believes that pharmacists’ services should be an integral part of a patient’s medical home because prescription medications are the primary medical intervention used to improve health and quality of life,” Roberts wrote.

The letter expressed support for the law’s proposed establishment of a grant program for medication therapy management and exemptions for pharmacies from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services’ durable medical equipment accreditation requirements, which they must fulfill in order to sell diabetes-testing supplies. On the other hand, it asked the committee to consider that small businesses with highly trained professionals, such as pharmacies, have higher-than-average salaries as it decided on an annual salary phase out for tax incentives to provide health insurance. It also emphasized its preference that the drug benefit component of any public plan be administered by a pharmacy benefits administrator rather than a pharmacy benefits manager.

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Fruth Pharmacy elects founder’s daughter as board chairwoman

BY Alaric DeArment

POINT PLEASANT, W. Va. Regional retail pharmacy chain Fruth Pharmacy has elected a new chairwoman of the board.

Fruth CEO Don Pullin announced the election of Lynne Fruth, which occurred during the board meeting in March. The company said Fruth will direct the company’s affairs and make decisions on major company issues.

Fruth, the youngest daughter of company founder Jack Fruth, has spent more than 20 years in careers related to education, serving as field researcher for the federal government and in the Putnam County, W.Va., school system. She also works as a private consultant to many county school systems in West Virginia and has been an owner and operator of several private businesses, including restaurants and a vending route.

“In the words of my father, the harder I work, the luckier I get,” Fruth stated. “I will strive to bring to this position that level of dedication, as well as a commitment to the values on which our company was founded – hard work; integrity; true concern for our employees, customers and communities; and a vision for where we can take Fruth Pharmacy in the future.”

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