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Health-care Services

POSTED: Wednesday, April 6, 2011, 11:00 AM

There is a big difference between being paid by a pharmaceutical company for speaking at a conference about a new treatment and conducting clinical studies on it.

That was the message conveyed to me by one reader of my column Friday about the tens of millions of dollars in payments made by drug companies to health-care professionals in 2010 and being disclosed now.

When a pharmaceutical company, such as Pfizer Inc., pays a doctor $500 to speak at a conference, that money goes directly to the doctor.

POSTED: Wednesday, December 22, 2010, 8:52 AM

We may not be seeing a rush of blockbuster acquisitions as 2010 draws to a close, but each December day seems to bring word of a small deal here and there.

On Monday, three transactions involved local companies. Just like some of those Christmas gifts you may have tossed into your shopping cart, they were missing price tags.

Quinnova Pharmaceuticals Inc., of Newtown, Bucks County, was acquired by a unit of Amneal Enterprises L.L.C., a Bridgewater, N.J., maker of generic and specialty pharmaceuticals.

POSTED: Monday, December 13, 2010, 12:34 PM
Filed Under: Health-care Services

Community Health Systems Inc. is "probably the best equipped" company to take over and run Tenet Healthcare Corp., according to Gimme Credit LLC, a corporate bond research firm.

In a report Monday, Gimme Credit analyst Vicki Bryan noted Tenet's decade of below-average performance. While Tenet's earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization margin is 10.8 percent -- it's best in years -- that's still 30 percent below its hospital peers, Bryant writes.

In contrast, Community Health has been clicking along since its 2007 acquisition of Triad Healthcare Corp. for $6.4 billion.

POSTED: Monday, October 11, 2010, 8:05 AM

I thought I’d seen a ghost, or at least a misprint, when I saw that Community Energy Inc. had raised its first round of capital last week.

Hadn’t a Radnor company by the same name been bought by the Spanish wind-energy company Iberdrola S.A. for $30 million in 2006?

Yes, it had, said Community Energy chief executive officer Brent Alderfer. But Iberdrola really wanted the wind farms, those built and those unfinished, that Community Energy had developed in the United States.

POSTED: Thursday, October 7, 2010, 12:17 PM

UnitedHealth Group Inc. will eliminate 115 jobs at its mail-service pharmacy operations in Huntingdon Valley.

The 1800 Byberry Road operation handles the health insurer’s Workers Comp Rx business line, which is being discontinued, according to David Himmel, spokesman for UnitedHealth Group’s Prescription Solutions pharmacy benefits management unit. That business focuses on workers' compensation claims.

A filing with the Pennsylvania Department of Labor & Industry indicates all layoffs will be completed as of Dec. 1.

POSTED: Wednesday, September 8, 2010, 11:35 AM

Weak employment numbers like those released on Friday almost make me glad the U.S. health insurance system is as complex as all get-out.

At least it’s creating some jobs at two area companies.

Blue Bell-based Corporate Call Center Inc. said on Tuesday it was adding more than 250 positions after gaining a new health-benefits client. And Trevose-based International SOS Assistance Inc. has added about 50 jobs in Bucks County, a direct result of winning a $269.1 million military health-care contract.

POSTED: Friday, March 12, 2010, 2:05 AM

No one likes insurance companies very much.

That’s clear from the feedback I got on Thursday's column about how federal reform efforts may affect the health-care sector in Philadelphia.

One e-mailer noted that the Obama measure would require everyone to buy insurance and offer subsidies for those without employer-based coverage to do just that through a health insurance exchange. So insurers will do just fine as they gain more customers, albeit at lower profit margins.

POSTED: Thursday, March 11, 2010, 8:12 AM

There is no bigger issue for Philadelphia than how Washington changes the nation’s health-care system.

While most would say that’s obvious because we all get sick sometime, I look at it from the sprawl of health-care employers in the region. One study last year estimated that one in six jobs here feeds off that sector.

Some of our biggest employers are hospitals and pharmaceutical companies. Independence Blue Cross and Cigna Corp. are two of the nation’s largest health insurers and they’re based here. The region is home to four medical schools as well as schools for nursing and other health professions.

About this blog
Mike Armstrong blogs about Philadelphia corporations and business-related topics. Contact him at 215-854-2980. Reach Mike at marmstrong@phillynews.com.

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