In this issue:
- A Walgreen-Rite Aid Merger? Really?!?
- A New Startup Aims for Prescription Price Transparency
- Hospitals Get Into the Specialty Pharmacy Game
Banking on a Walgreen-Rite Aid Merger
In last week’s Rite Aid: Smart or Lucky?, I jokingly wrote: “Rite-Aid’s $6+ billion debt load remains a big deterrent to any potential acquirer … unless Walgreen (NYSE: WAG) gets very, very desperate.” Coincidentally, Credit Suisse’s Edward Kelly released a report the very next day suggesting that Walgreen’s “may” seek to merge with Rite Aid, leading to a 10% pop in Rite Aid’s stock price. LOL! Former Walgreen CEO Jeff Rein, who mysteriously left Walgreen in 2008, believes that “Walgreens’ board ‘would have the stomach’ to buy Rite Aid if it doesn't reach an agreement with Express Scripts” (per Drug Store News). Hmmm...
Unraveling the Mystery of Prescription Drug Prices
This article has an impressively lucid explanation of how consumers (and payers?) can take advantage of today's pharmacy channel economics. It was written by the president of GoodRx, a start-up with a pretty nifty prescription drug price comparison tool at www.GoodRx.com. (Try it!) The company, which has early Facebook employees and ex-McKesson executive Stephen Buck as co-founders, recently raised $1M in seed funding from some big-time Silicon Valley venture capitalists. Keep on eye on these guys.
Embracing Rather Than Fighting Specialty Pharmacy
In the 2011-12 Economic Report on Retail and Specialty Pharmacies, I forecast a boom in specialty dispensing, as the projected specialty growth encourages market entry. This article provides further proof in the form of three hospitals with specialty pharmacy operations—The University of Illinois Hospital and Health Sciences System, Chicago; Fairview Pharmacy Services, Minneapolis; and Duke University Hospital, Durham, N.C. The hospitals’ strategy can also be seen as a proactive response to specialty pharmacy’s challenge to buy-and-bill. Manufacturers: Get ready for pressure to broaden your networks!
FDA Allows Import Of Cancer Drugs
The Onion, America’s Finest News Source, examines the FDA’s decision to allow imports of Doxil and methotrexate to be imported from India and Australia. Click to enlarge if you can't read these enlightening comments from a cross-section of our fellow citizens.