Issue: Volume XXII NO. 9 - June 22, 2015

Opko Pays $1.47 Billion to Buy Bio-Reference Lab

CEO SUMMARY: It’s a case of the little fish gobbling the big fish, as Opko Health—with revenue of $91 million—will be acquiring Bio-Reference Laboratories, with revenue of $832 million. But the more interesting aspect of the story is that the CEO of Opko Health is a physician worth $5 billion and highly respected by Wall Street. It could be that Bio-Reference CEO Marc Grodman, M.D., has gained a shrewd advisor and powerful ally in Phillip Frost, M.D., the Chair and CEO of Opko Health.

Medi-Cal to Cut Lab Pay on July 1 by 25% to 30%

CEO SUMMARY: Since 2011, state officials in California have aggressively cut laboratory testing fees for Medi-Cal, the state’s Medicaid program. Now state officials say they will implement a new methodology next month for determining lab testing fees. The new methodology is based on lab pricing data produced as a result of whistleblower lawsuits against labs that were settled in 2011. Should prices fall below the costs of performing these tests, the Medi-Cal program may see legal challenges from the lab industry.

LabCorp, Sysmex Will Collaborate To Develop Liquid Biopsy Tests

ANOTHER SIGN OF HEALTHCARE’S TRANSFORMATION came on June 1 when Sysmex Corporation of Kobe, Japan, and Laboratory Corporation of America in Burlington, North Carolina, announced a unique collaboration to develop blood-based molecular diagnostic tests for cancer.
The collaboration calls for Sysmex, a major in vitro diagnostics (IVD) manufacturer with expertise in hematology testing, to work with LabCorp. Efforts will center around two assays developed at Sysmex Inostics, called OncoBEAM and Plasma-Sequencing.

Medicare Ends Coverage for Genetic Drug-Sensitivity Tests

CEO SUMMARY: Medicare’s decision to cease covering many pharmacogenomic tests puts as many as 19 million Americans who have genetic variations affecting their response to medications at risk. These medications are commonly prescribed for patients with cardiovascular disease, pain, depression, anxiety, and cancer. Meanwhile, medical centers such as Mayo Clinic are conducting clinical studies to collect evidence that appropriate use of pharmacogenomic tests can improve patient outcomes while also reducing the cost of care.

Medicare Ends Coverage for Some Pharmacogenomic Testing

CEO SUMMARY: Medicare’s decision to cease covering many pharmacogenomic tests puts as many as 19 million Americans who have genetic variations affecting their response to medications at risk. These medications are commonly prescribed for patients with cardiovascular disease, pain, depression, anxiety, and cancer. Meanwhile, medical centers such as Mayo Clinic are conducting clinical studies to collect evidence that appropriate use of pharmacogenomic tests can improve patient outcomes while also reducing the cost of care.

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