The Health Care Checkup is a weekly rundown of the state’s top health care headlines.
Checking the Pulse
Blunt backs effort to defund Planned Parenthood
Following the release of undercover videos of Planned Parenthood, a group of at least 20 Senate Republicans is planning to vote on legislation that would strip nearly $540 million from the organization. Sen. Roy Blunt of Missouri is among the sponsors of the legislation, and Rep. Ann Wagner, R-Ballwin, led a group of House members calling for congressional hearings on Planned Parenthood. Blunt said lawmakers would shift the $540 million to community health centers, and he believes that in those facilities, “women will be able to find the health services they need.”
Sen. Claire McCaskill, a Missouri Democrat, said she will not vote to the defunding plan, as she thinks the plan is “short sighted” to cut off one of the major avenues for women to get birth control in the country.
Mallinckrodt loses court case over generic drug
Mallinckrodt Pharmaceuticals, which has its U.S. headquarters in Hazelwood, lost a lawsuit that challenged the Food and Drug Administration’s reclassification of its ADHD generic drugs. In November, the FDA reclassified Mallinckrodt’s generic drug, methylphenidate ER, which has been used as a cheaper alternative to Concerta, a brand-name drug made by Johnson & Johnson.
Mallinckrodt argued the FDA’s move was like pulling the drug from the market. The federal agency, which has conducted its own research, said the drug was not a true substitute for Concerta because it’s delivered at a slower rate than the brand-name medication.
Mallinckrodt selling unit to rival for $270 million
Mallinckrodt is selling its global contrast media and delivery systems business to French competitor Guerbet. The business segment, which sells its products to hospitals and image centers, will be sold for $270 million. The unit recorded sales of $210 million in the first half of fiscal year 2015, or about 12 percent of Mallinckrodt’s total sales. Mallinckrodt said divesting the unit would help the company focus on higher-growth areas. The deal will impact about 1,000 employees worldwide, including 50 in Missouri.
Shots in the arm
St. Louis-based GeneriCo, a pharmaceutical startup founded in 2013, has raised $3.6 million from a group of 21 investors. The startup, which develops and markets generic pharmaceuticals, said it will use the money for hiring and drug development. The company raised $2.5 million in 2013.
Reading the Chart
Express Scripts earnings rise 16 percent
Express Scripts Holding reported its second-quarter 2015 earnings rose 16 percent, to $600 million, or 88 cents a share. That’s up from $515 million, or 67 cents a share, for the same period last year. The company’s second-quarter revenue increased 1 percent, to $25.4 billion. The St. Louis-based pharmacy benefits manager also reported a slight decline in prescription drug claims. Over the past year, the company reduced its shares outstanding by 11 percent, which helped boost earnings per share.
Centene posts increased profit and membership in Q2
Clayton-based Centene reported a higher profit in the second quarter of fiscal 2015. The company posted a profit of $88 million for the quarter, or 72 cents per share. That’s an 83 percent increase from $49 million, or 41 cents per share, for the same period one year before. The second-quarter revenue totaled $5.5 billion, up from $4 billion. The company also reported an increase of 1.3 million members during the quarter compared with a year earlier.
The managed care provider, which on July 2 announced it would buy Health Net for $6.3 billion, has also said it would consider buying Medicare Advantage plans from its rivals to expand its footprint once the Health Net deal is completed.