From Reuters

Walgreens Misses Profit Estimates on Pharmacy Weakness, Shares Fall 7%

January 8, 2020

Walgreens Boots Alliance Inc’s (WBA.O) quarterly profit missed Wall Street estimates on Wednesday, hit by lower payments from insurers on drugs sold at its U.S. pharmacies, knocking back its shares and those of rival CVS Health Corp (CVS.N).

The company sought to reassure investors, saying it would meet its adjusted full-year profit forecast of roughly flat growth, betting on cost cuts and a harsh flu season.

Walgreens Boots Alliance Inc’s (WBA.O) quarterly profit missed Wall Street estimates on Wednesday, hit by lower payments from insurers on drugs sold at its U.S. pharmacies, knocking back its shares and those of rival CVS Health Corp (CVS.N).

The company sought to reassure investors, saying it would meet its adjusted full-year profit forecast of roughly flat growth, betting on cost cuts and a harsh flu season.

But shares fell nearly 7% to $55, dragging down those of CVS 2%, as investors worried that the pressure on reimbursement rates from insurers was likely to hurt profits further….

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Drugmakers From Pfizer to GSK to Hike U.S. Prices on Over 200 Drugs

January 1, 2020

Drugmakers including Pfizer Inc (PFE.N), GlaxoSmithKline PLC (GSK.L) and Sanofi SA (SASY.PA) are planning to hike U.S. list prices on more than 200 drugs in the United States on Wednesday, according to drugmakers and data analyzed by healthcare research firm 3 Axis Advisors.

Nearly all of the price increases will be below 10%, and around half of them are in the range of 4 to 6%, said 3 Axis co-founder Eric Pachman. The median price increase is around 5%, he said.

Drugmakers including Pfizer Inc (PFE.N), GlaxoSmithKline PLC (GSK.L) and Sanofi SA (SASY.PA) are planning to hike U.S. list prices on more than 200 drugs in the United States on Wednesday, according to drugmakers and data analyzed by healthcare research firm 3 Axis Advisors.

Nearly all of the price increases will be below 10%, and around half of them are in the range of 4 to 6%, said 3 Axis co-founder Eric Pachman. The median price increase is around 5%, he said.

More price increases are expected to be announced later this week, which could affect the median and range….

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Special Report: FDA Targets e-Cigs That Hook Teens but Don’t Help Smokers Quit

December 18, 2019

E-cigarette makers face an existential threat. By May, they must submit applications to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration proving that their products provide a net benefit to public health. If a company fails to make its case, the FDA has the power to order its products off the market.

The agency will judge that benefit with a two-part test: Are e-cigarettes effective in getting smokers to quit? And, if so, does that benefit outweigh the health damage to new e-cigarette users – including teenagers – who never smoked in the first place?

E-cigarette makers face an existential threat. By May, they must submit applications to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration proving that their products provide a net benefit to public health. If a company fails to make its case, the FDA has the power to order its products off the market.

The agency will judge that benefit with a two-part test: Are e-cigarettes effective in getting smokers to quit? And, if so, does that benefit outweigh the health damage to new e-cigarette users – including teenagers – who never smoked in the first place?

That’s a particularly high hurdle for the largest e-cigarette maker, Juul Labs Inc, according to a Reuters analysis of the latest available data on trends in cigarette and e-cigarette use from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention….

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OxyContin Maker Prepares ‘Free-Fall’ Bankruptcy as Settlement Talks Stall

September 3, 2019

OxyContin maker Purdue Pharma LP is preparing to seek bankruptcy protection before the end of the month if it does not reach a settlement with U.S. communities over widespread opioid litigation, three people familiar with the matter said, after some states balked at the company’s $10 billion to $12 billion offer in August to end their lawsuits as part of a negotiated Chapter 11 case.

OxyContin maker Purdue Pharma LP is preparing to seek bankruptcy protection before the end of the month if it does not reach a settlement with U.S. communities over widespread opioid litigation, three people familiar with the matter said, after some states balked at the company’s $10 billion to $12 billion offer in August to end their lawsuits as part of a negotiated Chapter 11 case.

On Friday, Purdue lawyers had documents prepared for a Chapter 11 filing at a moment’s notice, Reuters has learned. A federal judge, who expects plaintiffs to update him on settlement progress this week, wants 35 state attorneys general on board with a deal, a threshold that has not yet been reached, the people familiar with the matter said….

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Cigna Seeks Sale of Group Benefits Insurance Business

August 20, 2019

U.S. health insurer Cigna Corp is exploring a sale of its group benefits insurance business, which could be valued at as much as $6 billion, four people familiar with the matter said on Tuesday.

The unit for sale offers disability insurance as well as life and accidental death and dismemberment coverage to clusters of company employees. Cigna’s move to shed it underscores its decision to focus on healthcare following its $54-billion acquisition of pharmacy benefits manager Express Scripts Holding Co last year.

U.S. health insurer Cigna Corp is exploring a sale of its group benefits insurance business, which could be valued at as much as $6 billion, four people familiar with the matter said on Tuesday.

The unit for sale offers disability insurance as well as life and accidental death and dismemberment coverage to clusters of company employees. Cigna’s move to shed it underscores its decision to focus on healthcare following its $54-billion acquisition of pharmacy benefits manager Express Scripts Holding Co last year.

The Bloomfield, Connecticut-based company is working with an investment bank to run an auction for the group benefits business, the sources said. The unit could attract interest from other insurers that already have this product line and are seeking scale in that competitive market, the sources added….

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