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Anthem beats profit, to launch in-house pharmacy benefit unit early


(Reuters) - Health insurer Anthem Inc announced on Wednesday it was speeding up the launch of its in-house pharmacy benefits management business as it unveiled a better than expected quarterly profit.
While rivals Aetna Inc and Cigna Corp have made multi-billion dollar deals to manage patient prescriptions and bolster profits, so far Anthem is going at it alone.
Anthem had planned to move all of its pharmacy benefit management business to an in-house unit, IngenioRx, in 2020 after its contract with Express Scripts ends.
The company said on Wednesday the agreement between the health insurer and Express Scripts will now terminate on March 1, 2019 and the twelve-month transition period to migrate the business will begin on March 2, 2019.
Anthem said it expects to launch its in-house pharmacy benefits management business in the second quarter of the year.
Net income fell to $424 million, or $1.61 per share, in the quarter ended Dec. 31, from $1.23 billion, or $4.67 per share, a year earlier when the company benefited from changes to the U.S. tax law.
Excluding items, the company earned $2.44 per share and operating revenue rose 3.8 percent to $23.30 billion.
Analysts on average had expected earnings of $2.20 per share on operating revenue of $23.35 billion, according to IBES data from Refinitiv.
(Reporting by Saumya Sibi Joseph and Tamara Mathias in Bengaluru; Editing by Shounak Dasgupta)

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First Published: Jan 30 2019 | 5:23 PM IST

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