Healthcare Biz Recap: Is Walgreen Side-Stepping Cardinal Health?

Johnson & Johnson’s (NYSE:JNJ) and Zimmer Holding’s (NYSE:ZMH) metal-on-metal hip implants, which have been the target of thousands of patient lawsuits, will be the focus of an FDA advisory panel meeting this week. So far, the metal devices have been connected to nearly 16,800 adverse events in the United States since 2000, and thus require more consistent testing to help lower high failure rates which then lead to risky replacement surgeries.

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Merck’s (NYSE:MRK) PH III osteoporosis drug odanacatib potential has been underestimated by investors, says Credit Suisse, which raises its 2020 forecast for the med from $350 million to $1.1 billion. The analyst justifies the jump by pointing out the increased focus on the treatment, with 2 interim efficacy reports expected in 2012.

Walgreen (NYSE:WAG) might be looking to access branded drugs directly, thus side-stepping Cardinal Health (NYSE:CAH), reports Cleveland Research, perhaps supported in the process by the Boots acquisition. However, CR remains in the opinion that Cardinal is the better way; manufacturer support appears mixed.

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