13.6 C
New York
Sunday, December 10, 2023

Buy now

Home Blog

CVS Pharmacy Plans Major Shift in Drug Sales Approach with CostVantage Program Modeled After Mark Cuban’s CostPlus Drugs


CVS Pharmacy is set to implement a significant change in how its pharmacies are reimbursed for drugs with the introduction of the CostVantage program. Under this new program, CVS pharmacies will receive payment based on the cost of the drug, a fixed markup, and a service fee. The move is seen as a response to market pressures, including the demand for transparent drug pricing and the rise of alternative models like Mark Cuban’s online pharmacy.

CostVantage represents a departure from the traditional reimbursement model for CVS pharmacies and is designed to simplify the process. CVS is aiming to adapt to changing market dynamics and consumer preferences, particularly in the face of growing competition from alternative drug pricing models. Mark Cuban’s Cost Plus Drugs, which launched in early 2022, operates on a similar principle, buying drugs directly from manufacturers and selling them to consumers at a 15% markup plus pharmacy fees.

CVS’s new program is seen as a foundational step toward providing more pricing clarity for consumers, according to Prem Shah, Executive Vice President, Chief Pharmacy Officer, and President of Pharmacy and Consumer Wellness at CVS Health. The move comes as CVS faces increased scrutiny and pressure to address transparency issues in drug pricing, a trend that has gained momentum over the past two years.

The CostVantage program is expected to launch fully through contracts with commercial payers in 2025. While it remains to be seen if the new approach will consistently lead to lower costs for consumers, CVS aims to offer a more straightforward and transparent model for pharmacy reimbursement, responding to market demands and competition from innovative alternatives.

AEW’s VP of Post Production, Kevin Sullivan, Departs in Surprise Move

Kevin Sullivan, AEW’s Vice President of Post Production, has left the promotion in a surprising move, with reports confirming his departure earlier this week. Sullivan, who is not to be confused with the WCW Taskmaster of the same name, had been with AEW since October 2019, making him one of the longest-tenured backstage figures in the company. His departure was confirmed on Monday, and multiple sources have now shed light on the circumstances surrounding his exit.

According to reports, AEW Senior Vice President (SVP) Mike Mansury played a key role in the decision to let go of Kevin Sullivan. Mansury, who previously served as WWE’s VP of Global Television Production, joined AEW in December of the previous year. The move to release Sullivan has raised questions within AEW, as he was credited with building the entire AEW post-production team and was highly regarded by his colleagues.

Sullivan had a significant impact on AEW’s video content, including packages, vignettes, and material for YouTube. His departure adds to a series of notable exits from AEW’s backstage team, including the release of CM Punk and Ace Steel. Additionally, QT Marshall, who announced his departure last month, has reportedly faced frustrations within the company.

Mike Mansury, with his background in WWE and experience in global television production, has become a key figure in AEW’s executive team. His decision to part ways with Kevin Sullivan adds an element of intrigue to AEW’s backstage dynamics, with fans and insiders alike speculating about the reasons behind the unexpected move. As AEW continues to evolve and navigate changes within its personnel, the departure of Kevin Sullivan marks a significant development in the promotion’s ongoing narrative.

Panera Bread is Going Public


Panera Bread Files Confidentially for IPO Again

Panera Bread, the popular restaurant chain known for its soups, sandwiches, and bagels, has confidentially filed for an initial public offering (IPO), according to sources familiar with the matter. The move comes as Panera signals its intention to go public after undergoing a CEO transition in May, with leadership changes explicitly mentioned as part of preparations for an eventual IPO. Panera was last publicly traded in 2017 before being acquired by JAB Holding, the investment arm of the Reimann family, for $7.5 billion. JAB has been reshaping its portfolio in recent years, and Panera’s renewed attempt to go public aligns with its strategy amid improving market conditions. Panera declined to comment on the reports.

The confidential filing for an IPO indicates that Panera is taking steps to re-enter the public markets, seeking to capitalize on investor appetite for restaurant stocks and a potentially favorable IPO environment. This move follows a two-year IPO drought that ended in the fall of the previous year. The timing aligns with a broader trend of companies, including Chinese-founded fast-fashion giant Shein, considering IPOs in 2024 as they anticipate improved market conditions.

While Panera’s filing is a positive signal for the restaurant industry, it also comes amid legal scrutiny for the company. Panera has faced a lawsuit related to its “charged lemonade,” with plaintiffs alleging that the beverage caused the death of their college-age daughter, who had a heart condition. As Panera navigates both the IPO process and legal challenges, the restaurant chain’s next steps will be closely watched by investors and industry observers.

Panera’s return to the public markets, if successful, could provide an opportunity for investors to participate in the growth and strategic initiatives of the popular restaurant brand. As the company moves forward with its confidential IPO filing, additional details and developments are expected to emerge in the coming months.

Amazon Partners with SpaceX for Falcon 9 Launches in Project Kuiper Satellite Deployment


Amazon has enlisted SpaceX, headed by Elon Musk, for three Falcon 9 launches to deploy satellites for its Project Kuiper network. Project Kuiper aims to establish a global broadband internet constellation using 3,236 satellites in low Earth orbit, competing with SpaceX’s Starlink. This collaboration marks an interesting turn as Amazon taps a rival in the satellite internet sector for its multi-billion dollar launch initiative.

The three Falcon 9 launches with SpaceX are scheduled to commence in mid-2025. Amazon had previously secured 83 rocket launches from various providers, including Blue Origin, United Launch Alliance, and Arianespace, as part of a multi-billion dollar launch deal. Amazon’s decision to include SpaceX in its launch campaign comes after facing a shareholder lawsuit, which accused the company of not adequately considering SpaceX as a launch provider for most of its rides to space in 2021 and 2022. Amazon dismissed the lawsuit’s claims, stating they are “completely without merit.”

The partnership with SpaceX introduces competition and diversification into Amazon’s launch strategy for Project Kuiper. SpaceX’s Falcon 9 rockets, known for their partial reusability, have played a pivotal role in the rapid deployment of SpaceX’s Starlink network, making it the world’s largest satellite operator. Amazon, with Project Kuiper, aims to meet regulatory requirements to deploy half of the Kuiper network by 2026. The company launched its first two prototype satellites in October and plans to initiate early customer pilots in the second half of 2024.

While SpaceX and Amazon are competitors in the satellite internet space, their collaboration in rocket launches demonstrates the complexity and interdependence within the commercial space industry. This move reflects the evolving landscape of space-related partnerships and the dynamic competition among companies vying for a position in the growing space economy.

MSNBC Cancels Mehdi Hasan’s Show Amid Ratings Drop and Controversy Over Anti-Israel Views


MSNBC has decided to discontinue Mehdi Hasan’s weekend prime-time talk show, citing a significant decline in ratings and controversy surrounding Hasan’s anti-Israel views. The network revealed this move as part of a broader restructuring initiative, although insiders suggest that cost-cutting measures played a role in the decision.

Sources close to MSNBC claim that the network is aggressively cutting costs, providing a convenient excuse to part ways with the British-born anchor. Some insiders also hint at concerns that Hasan’s perspectives were considered too divergent from the mainstream. However, MSNBC President Rashida Jones stated that the decision was a strategic move to revamp the weekend lineup in preparation for the upcoming presidential election in 2024.

Under the new arrangement, Mehdi Hasan will transition to an on-camera analyst and fill-in host role across MSNBC and Peacock. The vacant Sunday night prime-time slot will be filled by Ayman Mohyeldin, despite criticisms of his alleged anti-Israel bias. Mohyeldin’s 7 p.m. show will also expand to a two-hour format. Additionally, Ali Velshi, another prominent anchor at MSNBC, will host a two-hour talk show on both Saturday and Sunday mornings starting at 10 a.m. Eastern time.

The decision to cancel Hasan’s show follows controversies related to his commentary on Israel, especially in the aftermath of a deadly terror attack by Hamas on October 7. The network has denied previous reports suggesting that Hasan, along with Mohyeldin and Velshi, was muzzled due to their pro-Palestine viewpoints.

Hasan’s ratings have experienced a steady decline over the past two months, with his show failing to surpass 500,000 viewers since the October 7 attack. On November 12, the show hit a low point with only 37,000 viewers in the key 25-54 demographic and 411,000 total viewers.

As MSNBC undergoes a weekend lineup revamp, the network is shifting its focus to morning programming, which is considered more lucrative. A two-hour morning program titled “The Weekend” will debut on January 13, featuring Alicia Menendez, Symone Sanders-Townsend, and Michael Steele.

The move to cancel Mehdi Hasan’s show is seen by some as a response to financial challenges and concerns about straying too far from mainstream perspectives. The network’s decision to replace the show with morning programming aligns with its strategic efforts to maximize revenue during peak viewing times.

Earlier this year, Mehdi Hasan faced accusations of plagiarism for a column he wrote more than two decades ago, and he has also apologized for controversial remarks made in the past.

For now, Hasan’s role as an analyst and fill-in host marks a shift in his position within MSNBC, while the network aims to present a revamped weekend lineup to its audience.

Verizon Offers Ad-Supported Netflix and Warner Bros. Discovery’s Max Bundle at $10/Month


In a strategic move to strengthen its position in the highly competitive wireless sector, Verizon is launching a bundled offer for ad-supported versions of Netflix and Warner Bros. Discovery’s Max at $10 per month. This deal is exclusive to Verizon mobile customers with specific unlimited plans and represents a 40% discount compared to purchasing the services separately at $17 per month.

Starting December 7, Verizon will provide its customers on Unlimited Welcome, Unlimited Plus, or Unlimited Ultimate plans with the option to subscribe to the Netflix and Max bundle. This marks the first time that Netflix and Max services will be offered together as part of a discounted package.

Under this reseller deal, Verizon typically pays a per-subscriber wholesale rate to its service provider partners. The telco treats these discounted bundles as customer-acquisition costs, leveraging its strategic relationships with major content providers to unlock more value for its wireless customers.

In addition to the Netflix and Max bundle, Verizon offers 10 packages available for $10 monthly through its myPlan program. These packages include the Disney bundle (featuring Disney+, Hulu, and ESPN+), Apple TV+, Walmart+, TravelPass, and more. The move aims to provide Verizon customers with diverse entertainment options while enhancing the overall value proposition of its wireless plans.

Customers enrolling in the Netflix and Max (With Ads) bundle will need to complete separate account setups for each service, and accessing content from each platform will be managed independently. Verizon emphasizes the need for subscribers to manage their subscriptions to avoid multiple charges and ensure a seamless experience.

By offering discounted bundles, Verizon aims to differentiate its wireless offerings and attract a broader subscriber base. These strategic partnerships with popular streaming services contribute to the telco’s broader strategy in the evolving landscape of digital entertainment and connectivity.

Spotify Announces Significant Workforce Reduction in Latest Cost-Cutting Move


In a recent announcement, Spotify, the popular music streaming service, revealed its decision to implement a significant reduction in its workforce, marking the third round of layoffs in 2023. The company, which boasts around 9,000 employees globally, plans to cut approximately 1,500 jobs, constituting a 17% reduction in its workforce.

Spotify’s CEO, Daniel Ek, addressed the workforce reduction in a companywide email, citing the need to take substantial action to rightsize costs. The decision comes after the company experienced rapid growth in its number of employees during 2020 and 2021, fueled by more accessible capital at the time. However, the current economic landscape, characterized by slowed growth and increased capital expenses, has prompted the streaming giant to make tough decisions to align with its financial objectives.

Ek emphasized the necessity of being lean in the current economic environment, describing it as not merely an option but a requirement for the company’s sustainability. The CEO acknowledged that while Spotify has made significant strides in building a sustainable business over the past two years, challenges persist, and there is work yet to be done.

This move follows Spotify’s earlier workforce reductions in 2023, indicating an ongoing effort to streamline operations and manage costs more effectively. The first round of layoffs, which occurred at the beginning of the year, involved a 6% reduction and bid farewell to 600 employees. Another 2% reduction, approximately 200 roles, took place in June following challenges related to high-profile podcasting ventures.

Terminated employees as part of the recent layoffs will receive an approximately five-month severance package, along with accrued and unused paid time off and continued health insurance coverage during the severance period. The company aims to provide support to affected individuals during the transition.

Spotify, headquartered in Stockholm, Sweden, has been navigating a complex landscape as it seeks profitability and manages the financial implications of its podcasting investments. The company started the year with ambitious goals, including a 6% reduction in its workforce, but ongoing challenges and changing economic conditions have necessitated additional measures.

In an attempt to bolster profitability, Spotify implemented a $1 price increase across its US subscription plans in July. The premium single tier now starts at $10.99, and the company has explored expanding its offerings, including a rumored $20-a-month “Supremium” tier. The latest workforce reduction aligns with Spotify’s broader strategy to achieve financial stability and remain a dominant force in the competitive music streaming industry. As the company faces evolving market dynamics, it continues to adapt its operations to meet its long-term goals while providing a seamless experience for its users worldwide.

Retired Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O’Connor Passes Away at 93


Retired Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O’Connor, the first woman to serve on the U.S. Supreme Court, has died at the age of 93. The Supreme Court announced that O’Connor passed away in Phoenix due to complications related to advanced dementia and a respiratory illness.

Appointed by President Ronald Reagan in 1981, O’Connor served on the Supreme Court for 24 years until her retirement in 2006. Throughout her career, she was known for her pragmatic and moderate approach to legal issues. O’Connor played a significant role in shaping Supreme Court decisions, particularly on topics such as abortion and states’ rights.

In her later years, O’Connor faced health challenges and announced in 2018 that she had been diagnosed with the early stages of dementia, possibly Alzheimer’s disease. She had been a trailblazer in her legal career, leaving a lasting impact on the judiciary and paving the way for future generations of women in the legal profession.

Spirit Airlines Offers Voluntary Exit Packages to Salaried Employees


Budget carrier Spirit Airlines is implementing cost-cutting measures in response to ongoing financial challenges, offering voluntary exit packages to salaried employees. The airline has been grappling with weak off-peak demand, exacerbated by the need to ground Airbus A320neo aircraft for engine inspections following a manufacturing defect disclosed by Pratt & Whitney. The defect has strained the airline’s capacity, prompting the need for additional cost reductions.

In a memo to staff, Spirit Airlines CEO Ted Christie emphasized the importance of returning to profitability, stating, “we must return to profitability, which will require a series of tough decisions.” The airline had already taken measures such as pausing training for new pilots and flight attendants, implementing expense budget restrictions, and adjusting its network, including plans to exit Denver.

This move follows the airline’s announcement last month about grounding an average of 26 Airbus A320neo aircraft for engine inspections. The voluntary exit program for salaried team members is designed to help right-size the organization in response to current fleet and business constraints. Christie referred to a similar plan implemented during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic and expressed confidence in its effectiveness.

Spirit Airlines is currently facing legal challenges regarding its potential acquisition by JetBlue Airways. The Justice Department has filed a lawsuit to block the acquisition, with the trial expected to conclude in the coming days in Boston.

The Wall Street Journal reported on Spirit Airlines’ voluntary exit packages for salaried employees earlier in the day.

Details Emerge About Upcoming “Suits” Spinoff Set in L.A.


The upcoming “Suits” spinoff, tentatively referred to as “Suits L.A.,” is set to take place in Los Angeles. Created by Aaron Korsh, the original creator of “Suits,” the spinoff will be set in the same timeframe as the original series, according to Beatrice Springborn, President of Universal International Studios and UCP. She assured that the new show would maintain the same energy and feature attractive characters, much like the original “Suits.”

During her appearance at the Content London industry conference, Springborn shared that the spinoff is currently in development, emphasizing that it is “fun and happy.” While “Suits L.A.” is not confirmed as the official title, it has been used informally. Springborn highlighted the appeal of returning series like “Suits” to streaming platforms, mentioning that the show’s success on Netflix makes it an attractive option for streaming services.

Springborn introduced a new term for high-end returning shows like “Suits,” calling them “prestigural,” a combination of “prestige drama” and “procedural.” She emphasized the importance of combining a glossy appearance with great storytelling and character work for ongoing success.

“Suits” originally aired on USA Network from 2011 to 2019, spanning nine seasons. The legal drama followed the story of a talented individual who secures a position at a prestigious New York law firm despite lacking formal qualifications. The cast included Patrick J. Adams, Gabriel Macht, Rick Hoffman, Meghan Markle, Gina Torres, and Sarah Rafferty.