Monday, July 05, 2010

Drug Channels News Roundup: July 2010

Welcome back! Hope you all had a relaxing July 4th holiday! Here's a belated rundown of noteworthy news stories from the Drug Channels universe in June.

In this edition, we look at Medi-Span’s ongoing support for Average Wholesale Price (AWP), the end of the prosecution of two former Bristol Myers Squibb (NYSE:BMY) for alleged “channel stuffing,” and Medco Health Solutions’ (NYSE:NHS) new branding campaign. Plus, I highlight a totally hilarious cease-and-desist letter to stop copyright infringement in the promotion of Canned Unicorn Meat. (Mmmm, unicorn meat...)

Average Wholesale Price-not dead yet...
Joe Paduda at Managed Care Matters reports on Medi-Span’s recent announcement that it will continue publishing Average Wholesale Price (AWP) data. In an Important Notice for Wolters Kluwer Health’s Medi-Span Customers, Wolters Kluwer Health states:
“As a result, Wolters Kluwer Health intends to publish AWP (or a similarly determined benchmark price) until relevant industry or governmental organizations develop a viable, generally accepted alternative price benchmark to replace AWP.”
For an overview of AWP and its likely replacements, see The U.S. Pharmacy Industry: 2009 Economic Report and Outlook.

'Medco Pharmacy' - A New Brand is Launched
Medco Health Solutions (NYSE:MHS) is launching a new multimillion-dollar campaign aimed at consumers. The campaign features Dr. Obvious, Ph.D. of the Institute for the Incredibly Apparent, who “points out the obvious superior points of difference that Medco Pharmacy offers.” (Hey, I wasn’t even asked to audition!) Keep an eye on this trend. Retail pharmacies, Pharmacy Benefit Managers (PBMs), and clinics are all competing to be clinical access agents for consumers. Check out the videos on Dr. Obvious’ YouTube Channel.

Former Bristol Execs Strike Deal On Financial Fraud
The always-reliable Pharmalot reports on the new deferred prosecution agreements of two former Bristol-Myers Squibb (NYSE:BMY) executives—ex-Chief Financial Officer Frederick Schiff and former Worldwide Medicines unit president Richard Lane. Unlike other news sources, Ed Silverman helpfully uploaded the Schiff deal and the Lane deal so you can read the details for yourself. (Full disclosure: My small role as an expert witness in this case was reported in a 2008 New York Times article.)

Officially Our Best-Ever Cease and Desist
Speaking of lawyers, check out this article from ThinkGeek, which received an apparently serious cease-and-desist letter from the legal eagles representing the National Pork Board. The case involves Canned Unicorn Meat, which ThinkGeek referred to as “The new white meat.” You must read this post to believe it! (Full disclosure: We had unicorn meat burgers at our July 4th barbecue.)

P.S. No blog-cation, so you're stuck with me all summer!

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