Premier divests drug stake
* Premier last week said it has divested a controversial equity stake in injectable generic drugmaker American Pharmaceutical Partners, Los Angeles, netting about $29.8 million. American Pharmaceutical said it bought 2.9 million shares from Premier Purchasing Partners as part of a $36 million stock repurchase program. Group purchasing contracts between the drugmaker and the purchasing alliance were not affected. Premier had accepted an equity interest in the company in lieu of customary administrative fees. Recently questions have been raised about group purchasing organizations owning stakes in companies with which they contract.
Guidant to buy Cook Group
* Cardiovascular devicemaker Guidant Corp., Indianapolis, announced it would buy privately held Cook Group, Bloomington, Ind., in a stock transaction valued at up to $3 billion. The deal will give Guidant a stake in the emerging market for drug-coated stents. The deal is subject to clinical and legal conditions, including positive results in a trial of Cook's drug-coated stent, and is expected to close early next year.
OmniCare sues Genesis
* OmniCare, Covington, Ky., filed suit last week to block nursing home chain Genesis Health Ventures, Kennett Square, Pa., from acquiring NCS Healthcare, Cleveland, claiming it made an earlier and higher offer to buy the company. OmniCare said its offer would "deliver more than twice the value to NCS stockholders." A Genesis spokeswoman said the company would proceed with the $340 million transaction, announced last week. OmniCare is the nation's largest provider of professional pharmacy and related services for nursing homes and other elder-care facilities. Genesis' subsidiary NeighborCare is the third-largest provider, followed by NCS.