WILMINGTON, Del--Zeneca Group PLC, London, the parent company of Zeneca Pharmaceuticals, has entered into an agreement to purchase a 50% interest in Salick Health Care, Inc., Los Angeles, a provider of health-care services to patients with cancer and other complex illnesses. It may be the first time a pharmaceutical company has purchased a health-care provider.
Under the agreement, Salick would become a separate company within the Zeneca Group and the existing Salick management team would remain in place, with Bernard Salick, MD, staying on as chairman, CEO, and president.
Zeneca Group PLC is a $6.5 billion international bioscience company. Its products include the anticancer agents tamoxifen(Drug information on tamoxifen) (Nolvadex) and goserelin(Drug information on goserelin) (Zoladex). Salick operates 10 comprehensive cancer centers in the United States and, through subsidaries, provides dialysis, infusion, and nutritional services.
SalickNet, Inc., a managed care subsidiary, provides cancer care (and care for other catastrophic diseases) to health-care purchasers. In 1994, SalickNet signed the first contract of its kind to provide "carve out" capitated cancer care for an HMO in South Florida.
The alliance with Salick represents an important expansion of Zeneca services to managed care organizations, oncologists, other specialists, and patients. The company is already active with other US managed care customers. Last year, it established its own primary care disease-management subsidiary, Stuart Disease Management Services, Inc. (SDMS), which focuses on cardiovascular disease.
Robert C. Black, president of Zeneca Pharmaceuticals, told Oncology News International that, although SalickNet and SDMS share many similarities, the nature of the products they offer differs.
"Salick is taking a provider-based approach to cancer and is actively involved in caring directly for patients," he said. "SDMS is different in that it supports third-party providers through the provision of tools and resources to manage disease--initially cardiovascular conditions--and does not intend to get directly involved in the provision of care in the near future."