Thursday, May 21, 2015

News Roundup, May 2015: Walgreens, Catamaran, OptumRx, CVS Health, Omnicare, and More

Time to get your barbecue ready for Memorial Day! Before you fire up the grill, dig into this month’s menu of noteworthy news patties, seasoned perfectly for your reading pleasure.

In this issue:
  • Get up and close and personal with Alex Gourlay and learn more about his strategy for Walgreens
  • Peek behind the scenes of the OptumRx-Catamaran deal
  • Guess whether CVS Health will buy Omnicare
PLUS: Pharm.D. programs will soon require that students become proficient in pharmacy rewards programs as ExtraCare, Balance Rewards, and wellness+. It’s about time!

P.S. Follow @Drug Channels on Twitter for daily updates on news and ideas. My kids won't be impressed until I have more Twitter followers than Taylor Swift. (Only 58 million to go.)

Walgreens gets a European makeover, or is it a takeover? The Chicago Tribune
Here’s an excellent interview with Alex Gourlay, the former Alliance Boots executive who is now president of Walgreens. Worthwhile reading if you have any interest in where Walgreens is headed. The article includes a few interesting personal tidbits about Gourlay, too.

It makes a fine bookend to my analyst day summary in Walgreens Boots Alliance: Analysis of its New U.S. Pharmacy Strategy.

Catamaran Corporation, Schedule 14A (May 11, 2015)
Check out Catamaran’s Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) proxy filing for its acquisition by OptumRx. The proxy provides lots of background details and urges shareholders to approve the transaction. I wrote nautically about the deal in OptumRx Sails Away with Catamaran: Deal Analysis and Industry Implications.

I was struck by the section that spans pages 33 to 45, which gives a blow-by-blow account of the deal. It turns out that UnitedHealthcare and Catamaran had been discussing various transactions and partnerships for more than a year.

The losing bidders are anonymous, but it’s fun to speculate. Was CVS Caremark Party 4? Was Express Scripts Party 3? What about Cigna, Aetna, and Walgreens Boost Alliance? Blue Horseshoe loves this proxy.

CVS Said in Advanced Talks to Buy Omnicare to Expand Pharma, Bloomberg
Is it time to get ready for the next big drug channels deal? Bloomberg says it is.

Doctorate of Pharmacy Programs to Add CVS, Walgreens Rewards Card Education Requirement, Gomer Blog
According to this important article, Pharm.D. programs will require students to master the reward card programs offered by major U.S. pharmacies, including CVS and Walgreens, by 2017. Nice to see that pharmacy schools are catching up with the times!

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