Healthcare Review: CVS Caremark, Rite Aid, Celladon, Gilead, Biogen Idec Print E-mail
By Staff and Wire Reports   
Thursday, 10 April 2014 14:06
U.S. stocks dipped on Thursday, with the Nasdaq underperforming other major indexes, as investors once again rotated into defensive names and sold momentum-driven stocks. Biotech and large technology stocks, some of the biggest gainers in 2013, slumped on Thursday. Both the Nasdaq biotechnology index and the NYSEArca biotech index lost more than 2 percent. The S&P technology sector shed 0.5 percent as one of the worst-performing S&P sectors.

Per CVS Caremark's ($CVS) Insights report prescription drug trend rose 3.8% last year versus flat growth in 2012. Growth drivers were price inflation and increased utilization (more prescriptions per member).Specialty medications that treat more complex diseases grew by 15.6%. The company generates the report, which includes an outline of cost containment strategies, to assist payers with their management of prescription drug spending. Drug trend is the measure of growth in prescription spending per member per month. The generic dispensing rate was 81.4%.

Rite Aid ($RAD) net profit tumbles 55% to $55.4M, due to LIFO accounting and losses on debt retirement. Rite Aid expects FQ 2015 revenue of $26-26.5B vs consensus of $25.78B; and EBITDA of $1.325-1.4B vs $1.33B.

The FDA has granted breakthrough designation to Celladon's ($CLDN) Mydicar drug for heart failure. Celladon is conducting a Phase IIb study of the therapy with 250 patients, with results expected in April next year.

Domestic generic drug maker Natco Pharma Ltd asks the Indian patent office to deny Gilead's ($GILD) Sovaldi patent in the country saying it is not "inventive" enough. If the request is successful generic drug makers may launch versions of the product. Gilead already plans to license Sovaldi to as many as four Indian generic manufacturers to allow for lower-priced sales in India and 60 developing countries.

Biogen Idec's ($BIIB) Eloctate long-lasting treatment for Haemophilia A, which the company is developing with Swedish Orphan Biovitrum (Sobi), maintained low bleeding rates in children under the age of 12 in a Phase III study. The results enable submission for EU approval.

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