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November 18, 2015
15:40 EDTUNHCongressman says U.S. may need look at pharmacy competition, dealReporter says
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November 17, 2015
09:14 EDTMDTMedtronic announces FDA approval, launch of MyCareLink Smart Monitor
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09:05 EDTUNHOptumRx acquires AxelaCare
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08:04 EDTWCGStifel to hold a conference
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November 16, 2015
09:59 EDTCIOmega bought Valeant in Q3, sold some SuneEdison
Leon Cooperman's Omega Advisors gave a quarterly update on its stakes in a filing this morning, disclosing its positions as of September 30. NEW STAKES: Pfizer (PFE), Valeant (VRX) Walgreens Boots Alliance (WBA), TerraForm Global (GLBL), Cigna (CI). INCREASED STAKES: Google Class A (GOOGL), Facebook (FB), Delta Air Lines (DAL). DECREASED STAKES: SunEdison (SUNE), Shire (SHPG), Citi (C), KAR Auction (KAR), LyondellBasell (LYB). LIQUIDATED STAKES: McKesson (MCK), 21st Century Fox (FOXA), General Motors (GM), QEP Resources (QEP), eBay (EBAY).
09:06 EDTUNHDiplomat seen as compelling amid specialty pharmacy fallout
Shares of specialty pharmacy operator Diplomat Pharmacy (DPLO) and pharmacy benefit manager Express Scripts (ESRX) have each been knocked down by the negative news surrounding the sector amid the troubles faced by Valeant (VRX) and others, but an analyst at Leerink contends in a note to investors that the pullbacks in both stocks provide buying opportunities. BACKGROUND: Drugmaker Valeant and its prior specialty pharmacy partner, Philidor Rx Services, have been at the center of the firestorm engulfing the sector. Following claims that Philidor urged its employees to modify prescriptions to ensure more orders of Valeant-branded drugs rather than generics, as well as other allegations of wrongdoing, Express Scripts (ESRX) and peer CVS Health (CVS) terminated Philidor from their networks. The day after those termination announcements, Valeant said that it was severing all ties with Philidor and that the pharmacy planned to shut down operations as soon as possible, consistent with applicable laws. Valeant has subsequently said that Philidor has committed to cease operations by January 30, 2016, at the latest. More recently, Express Scripts, the nation's largest pharmacy benefit manager, announced that it stopped doing business with Linden Care, accusing it of being a "captive" pharmacy that dispenses mostly products made by Horizon Pharma (HZNP). In turn, Horizon called the idea that Linden Care is a captive pharmacy "entirely false," stating that "at best Express Scripts is being reckless in its allegations and at worse it is intentionally attempting to mislead investors." Express Scripts' move also impacted shares of Insys Therapeutics (INSY), which reportedly also used Linden Care to fulfill prescription for its drugs. DIPLOMAT LIKELY TO STAY IN-NETWORK: Leerink analyst David Larsen acknowledged that recent events indicate that Express Scripts appears to be evaluating certain retail pharmacies and their relationships with manufacturers, but he believes Diplomat's mix of drugs for diseases like multiple sclerosis, HIV, hepatitis C and cancer differentiate it as a "true" specialty pharmacy. Larsen does not think Diplomat is at risk of being excluded from the pharmacy networks of Express Scripts, CVS or UnitedHealth's (UNH) Optum, he tells investors. Larsen expects limited distribution agreements to stay an important channel strategy for drugmakers and believes these agreements are appropriate for high cost specialty drugs that require special handling and additional services to manage patient adherence. The analyst, who thinks Diplomat remains well positioned to deliver annual growth of over 30% in the next several years, keeps an Outperform rating on its shares. EXPRESS BUYING OPPORTUNITY: Larsen also thinks concerns around manufacturer and pharmacy relationships have put unwarranted pressure on shares of Express Scripts. He does not expect Express Scripts to disclose new lawsuits around rebate dollars owed over other manufacturer disputes and keeps an Outperform rating on the stock, which he views as having an "attractive" valuation. WHAT'S NOTABLE: Larsen also thinks that the specialty channel remains an opportunity for Walgreens Boots Alliance (WBA) and believes its proposed acquisition of Rite Aid (RAD) can strengthen its specialty offering. The analyst keeps an Outperform rating on Walgreens shares as well. PRICE ACTION: Over the last three months, Diplomat Pharmacy shares have declined 28%, Express Scripts has fallen 6% and Walgreens has dropped 14%.
06:02 EDTCIAnthem announces ISS recommends shareholders vote "For" Cigna acquisition
Anthem (ANTM) announced that Institutional Shareholder Services has issued a report recommending that Anthem shareholders vote to approve the issuance of Anthem stock in the proposed acquisition of Cigna (CI) at the company's special meeting of shareholders to be held on Thursday, December 3, 2015. Anthem's board unanimously recommends that Anthem shareholders vote "FOR" the proposal to issue Anthem common stock to acquire Cigna, which is necessary to complete the transaction.
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