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Talbots Backs 2008 Outlook; Sees Sufficient Funding

BY CSA STAFF

Hingham, Mass. The Talbots Inc. affirmed its 2008 outlook on Friday and said meeting that goal would give it sufficient funding to continue turning around its business.

Talbots said it revised its payment terms with major vendors, giving it enhanced financial flexibility and increased operating cash flow.

The company also said it has working capital lines of credit totaling $165 million and believes that these lines will be enough to fund its working capital requirements for the current year.

Talbots said it expects to report a loss of 7 cents to 17 cents per share this year, hurt by a loss from discontinued operations of 59 to 64 cents per share. But on a continuing basis, the company stood by its full-year earnings forecast for a profit of 47 cents to 52 cents per share with top-line growth of about 3% on “slightly negative” same-store sales.

Talbots, which is majority owned by Japan’s Aeon Co. Ltd., reiterated its outlook the day after it was reported that two major lenders would not continue to provide credit— totaling $265 million—to the apparel retailer.

In other news, a Maryland court order, made public on Thursday, has issued orders to Talbots to pay $1.1 million in back state income taxes. The Talbots court order is part of a Maryland campaign to crack down on companies that incorporate in Delaware to avoid paying Maryland income tax.

The Maryland Tax Court ruled that Talbots owed the money for income taxes from 1993 to 2003. Talbots set up a subsidiary in Delaware called Classics Chicago to reduce its corporate income taxes.

“The vast majority of Maryland businesses are playing by the rules, and we will not allow a few large corporations to gain an unfair competitive advantage by flouting our tax laws,” Peter Franchot, Maryland comptroller, said Thursday. Talbots has not yet commented publicly on the ruling.

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CVS reports on effects of e-prescribing

BY CSA STAFF

WOONSOCKET, R.I. CVS Caremark and Horizon Blue Cross Blue Shield of New Jersey will present data that shows how the iScribe e-prescribing tool can allow for the objective identification and assessment of medication noncompliance to enable appropriate patient intervention at the 20th annual meeting of the Academy of Managed Care Pharmacy on April 18. The study, conducted in conjunction with Horizon BCBSNJ, analyzed when and if prescriptions written for the treatment of various chronic conditions, such as cardiovascular disease, were dispensed to patients.

iScribe is an intuitive, easy-to-use e-prescribing product that prescribers report they can begin using within 15 to 30 minutes of picking up their PDA. With iScribe, prescribers can send prescriptions securely and directly to the patient’s pharmacy of choice from either a handheld PDA or desktop computer. iScribe provides the prescriber with generic and formulary coverage information, assisting the physician in selecting the most cost-effective medication for their patients.

Study results found a high rate of noncompliance among all patients taking medications to treat a variety of cardiovascular diseases such as high blood pressure, with approximately 18% of those prescriptions unfilled after 60 days. Patients continuing their therapy were found to be significantly more compliant than those starting a new therapy with a cardiovascular medication. Noncompliance among patients continuing therapy was approximately 6%, while noncompliance rates for patients initiating therapy with a cardiovascular medication (i.e., primary noncompliance) were much higher, with up to 70% of patients noncompliant after 60 days.

“While it is widely recognized that medication noncompliance contributes to adverse drug events, poor health outcomes and increased health care costs, research to date has focused on patients who discontinue therapy and has not been able to account for primary noncompliance, where medications prescribed to begin therapy are never filled by the patient,” said Jan Berger, MD, chief clinical officer for CVS Caremark. “The data, collected using iScribe e-prescribing technology, shows us not only that there is an extremely high rate of primary noncompliance for medications to treat cardiovascular conditions, which places patients at increased risk for heart attack or stroke, but also provides information that can help shape how and when healthcare providers can most effectively intervene with education and support.”

Data was collected between Jan. 1, 2005 and Oct. 31, 2006 from a subset of 507 Horizon BCBSNJ providers who use iScribe e-prescribing technology. Researchers conducted a retrospective analysis comparing prescriptions for medications to treat chronic diseases (i.e., asthma, cardiovascular diseases, and diabetes) as well as prescriptions for antibiotics written via iScribe during this time period to submitted drug claims for medications dispensed between Jan. 1, 2005 and Dec. 31, 2006.

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Linens ‘N Things retains Financo

BY CSA STAFF

CLIFTON, N.J. Linens ‘N Things has added investment banking firm Financo as a financial advisor. The company has also retained Conway, Del Genio, Gries & Co. as financial advisor.

We are committed to exploring all reasonable avenues in our effort to strengthen the company and to adopt a financial solution that recognizes the inherent value of the Linens ‘N Things business. Accordingly, we are our expanding our highly capable financial advisory team with the addition of Financo, said Robert DiNicola, chairman and ceo.

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