Hospitals sue New Hampshire, Washington over funding, and other news
Cardinal Health agreed to revive and then sell three nuclear pharmacies in the Southwest in order to resolve antitrust allegations by the Federal Trade Commission. The FTC contends that Cardinal’s 2009 acquisition of Biotech harmed competition for radiopharmaceuticals sold to hospitals and cardiology clinics in Las Vegas, El Paso, Texas and Albuquerque, N.M. After the acquisition, Dublin, Ohio-based Cardinal closed its pharmacies in those cities and moved its operations to Biotech’s facilities, according to FTC documents. Competition in the market for radiopharmaceuticals is extremely local, the FTC observed, because the isotopes decay rapidly. The complaint alleges Cardinal was able to raise prices with little incentive to improve quality and service. The consent order, which requires approval by the commission, calls for Cardinal to “reconstitute” the three shuttered pharmacies within six months and then divest them to a commissionapproved buyer. Cardinal also must allow its customers in those cities to terminate their contracts. A Cardinal spokeswoman noted in an e-mail that the company has cooperated with the FTC and that the acquisition allowed Cardinal to expand its presence in positron emission tomography manufacturing, which is not subject to the agreement.
Scripps Health announced that its new $456 million cardiac-care and research center will be named the Prebys Cardiovascular Institute in honor of a $45 million gift from local real estate developer Conrad Prebys. Prebys, president of the Progress Construction and Management Co., which he founded in 1966, donated $10 million to expand emergency services at the 439-bed Scripps Mercy Hospital in San Diego in 2006. According to the SanDiegoBusiness
Journal, his net worth is estimated at $125 million and was, at one time, as high as $300 million. The new cardiac facility is part of the four-hospital system’s 25-year plan to renovate the campus of 301-bed Scripps Memorial Hospital-La Jolla. Ground was broken in June for the 383,000-squarefoot facility, and it is scheduled to open in 2015. Plans for the seven-story tower include 108 private rooms, 60 intensive-care beds, six operating rooms, four cardiac catheterization laboratories and research labs. According to a news release, the donation is the largest in the system’s 87year history. Scripps is seeking to finance the project with $125 million in donations and, with the $45 million from Prebys, has raised $80 million, according to the release. The rest of the project will be financed through borrowing and operating revenue.
The cardiovascular institute is part of a plan to renovate the Scripps campus.