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How CVS Took Advantage of the Walgreen/Express Scripts Debacle


Plus, earnings from Vivus, Arena, ESRX, and more!

This column highlights the most useful biotechnology and pharmaceutical news and commentary from around the Web.

"Walgreen Company Total Sales Decline -2.1% in October"
The Walgreen Company (NYSE:WAG) thanked Hurricane Sandy for weaker October sales. Approximately 750 to 1,400 stores were closed in impacted areas, which drove down sales data. Total sales of $6 billion were down 2.1% from $6.13 billion in the same month last year. Read more at

"Getting a Bead on CVS Caremark After the Express Scripts/Walgreens Fiasco"
CVS Caremark (NYSE:CVS) reported strong Q3 Earnings, with revenues up 13% year-over-year to a record $30.2 billion. While earnings were up $0.85 per a share, or 21% year-over-year, these gains are primarily due to sluggish negotiations between competitors Express Scripts Holding (NASDAQ:ESRX) and Walgreens. Stalled services to Walgreen's customer base provided easy pickings for CVS, who swooped in to steal a fair share of shoppers. Read more at SmallCap Network.

"The Walgreen, CVS, Express Scripts Fallout Continues"
Shares of Express Scripts dipped 15% after lowered guidance for 2013. Although earnings came in as expected, forward expectations were weighed down over fears that analysts are over excited about 2013. The ESRX-WAG negotiation debacle was resolved in September, allowing Express Scripts prescriptions to be filled at Walgreen's storefronts. CVS's gain from this stalled result has already solidified. CVS expects it will retain 60% of Walgreen's customers.

Also on Express Scripts books: the acquisition of Medco Health Solutions (NYSE:MHS), which is expected to reach $100 billion of revenue in 2013. Read more at Insider Monkey.

"Abbott: Waiting to Buy This Healthcare Stock"
Long term growth outlook for Abbott Laboratories (NYSE:ABT) is strong based on healthy operations across all segments and a locker full of patent-protected drugs. In October, Abbott Q3 earnings beat expectations with a 10% increase in EPS to $1.30. Net income of $1.9 billion was sweetened by higher gross margins of 63.8%. Looking toward 2013, Abbott plans to split its operations into two separate companies. Read more at Seeking Alpha.

[Must read: Can Pfizer's New Drug Clip Abbott's Top-Selling Humira?]

"AstraZeneca, Mylan, Hachette: Intellectual Property"
AstraZeneca (NYSE:AZN) will pay $11 million in a settlement over claims it breached antitrust and consumer protection laws by withholding its heart drug Toprol XL from market. Meanwhile, Mylan Inc. (NASDAQ:MYL) settled its birth control patent dispute with Johnson & Johnson's (NYSE:JNJ) Janssen Pharmaceuticals Unit. Mylan announced that, as result of the settlement, it will begin selling a generic version of the Ortho Tri-Cyclen birth control pill in 2015. Read more at Businessweek.

"Merck Announces FDA Acceptance of New Drug Applications for Suvorexant"
For all those suffering from sleepless nights, Merck & Co. (NYSE:MRK) has announced the FDA has accepted its new drug application for the investigational insomnia medicine Suvorexant. Read more at 4-Traders.

"Hot Off the Press: Arena Pharmaceuticals Earnings"
Arena Pharmaceuticals (NASDAQ:ARNA) reported a measly $1.49 million in revenue and a net loss of $0.07 per a share. It's a split when compared to expectations, which saw revenue coming in at $3.5 million, and EPS losses at $0.09. Arena and Japanese drug maker Eisai Co. (PINK:ESALY) plan on releasing weight-loss drug Belviq in 2013. Arena also plans to partner with South Korean drug maker Ildong Pharmaceutical (KRX:000230). Read More at The Motley Fool.

"Vivus Misses 3Q Estimates"
Vivus Pharmaceuticals (NASDAQ:VVUS) missed its 3Q estimates, reporting a loss of $0.40 per a share. Net revenue was $41,000, far below some estimates that pegged revenue at $1 million. Read more at Nasdaq.

Twitter: @brokawbrokaw
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