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Issue 04-09-2012

ESI-Medco deal gets green light from the FTC

WASHINGTON — The Federal Trade Commission has cleared the way for Express Scripts Inc.’s controversial acquisition of pharmacy benefits manager (PBM) Medco Health Solutions Inc. for about $29 billion. The FTC announced its 3-1 decision after an eight-month examination of such issues as whether the merger would substantially reduce competition for pharmacy benefit management services,

Pharmacy groups sue to block PBM merger

PITTSBURGH — The National Association of Chain Drug Stores and the National Community Pharmacists Association (NCPA) have filed a lawsuit to block the merger of pharmacy benefit managers (PBMs) Express Scripts Inc. and Medco Health Solutions Inc. The suit, which was joined by nine pharmacy operators, was filed in the U.S. District Court for the

Lawmakers learn about power of Rx

WASHINGTON — Hundreds of chain drug executives, pharmacists and pharmacy students from across the country converged on Capitol Hill last month to lobby lawmakers about the vital role community pharmacy plays in the nation’s health care system. The mass gathering, which saw a sea of white coats strolling through the halls of the House of

CVS sets PBM succession plan

WOONSOCKET, R.I. — CVS Caremark Corp. has announced succession plans for the leadership of its pharmacy benefit management (PBM) business. Jon Roberts, executive vice president and chief operating officer of Caremark Pharmacy Services, will take the title of president, now held by Per Lofberg, as of September 1. He will continue to report to Lofberg,

Supreme Court tackles health care

WASHINGTON — Pointed questions from Supreme Court justices raised doubts last month about the viability of the health care reform law’s individual mandate. The skepticism over the mandate, which dictates that everyone obtain health insurance or pay a penalty, emerged during the court’s three days of hearings on the Affordable Care Act’s constitutionality in late

Navarro returns to one Florida community

PEMBROKE PINES, Fla. — Navarro Discount Pharmacy has opened its 31st store. Located in the Florida community of Pembroke Pines, the outlet “is just what the doctor ordered for the Hispanic community in Broward County,” stated Juan Ortiz, chief executive officer of Navarro, the largest Hispanic-owned pharmacy chain in the country. “We are very pleased

Rite Aid mobile app makes debut

CAMP HILL, Pa. — Rite Aid Corp. has launched its own mobile application, offering iPhone and Android smartphone users a menu of pharmacy and shopper tools. With the free app, customers can order prescription refills by using their smartphone’s camera to take a picture of the barcode on the medicine bottle, typing in the prescription

FMI, GMDC plan joint show

ORLANDO, Fla. — The Food Marketing Institute (FMI) and Global Market Development Center (GMDC) have agreed to team up to offer a conference on health, beauty and wellness next year. The event, scheduled for May 31 to June 4, 2013, at the JW Marriott Hill Country in San Antonio, is being geared to food retailers

Ban on Medi-Cal cuts is upheld on appeal

SAN FRANCISCO — A federal appeals court here has denied attempts by California’s Department of Health Care Services to suspend a lower court’s earlier decision to block cuts in Medi-Cal, the state’s Medicaid program. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit agreed late last month to deny the state’s emergency effort to suspend

The Walgreens Way to Well

DEERFIELD, Ill. — Walgreen Co. has launched the Walgreens Way to Well Health Tour with the National Urban League (NUL) as a charitable component of the drug chain’s Way to Well Commitment, a four-year, $100 million effort aimed at improving the everyday health of Americans. The national tour will provide free health resources — including

‘Draconian’ Tricare plan blasted

ALEXANDRIA, Va. — Congressional approval of President Obama’s budget proposals to increase Tricare beneficiary out-of-pocket expenses would force patients away from community pharmacies and into mail-order programs, the National Association of Chain Drug Stores says. In comments submitted late last month to the Senate Armed Services Subcommittee on Personnel, NACDS urged the adoption of policies

Drug, wellness database launched on Facebook

ATLANTA — Walgreen Co. and Sharecare, an online health care question-and-answer service, have teamed up to provide what they say is the largest searchable drug, supplements and wellness database on Facebook. The application, called Answers, is integrated into Walgreens’ Facebook page, giving the drug chain’s followers convenient access to a first-of-its-kind interactive portal containing valuable

Miller recognized for courage, determination

Bob Miller has just received the prestigious Horatio Alger Award, a recognition accorded those individuals “whose courage and determination allowed them to overcome the challenges they faced early in their lives and achieve success in their fields.” “There are no secret formulas for success. Work hard, treat people right, tell the truth and believe in