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Bertek Names PharmaCare a Preferred Specialty Pharmacy Provider of Apokyn(TM)

LINCOLN, R.I., April 28 /PRNewswire/ -- PharmaCare Specialty Pharmacy has been selected as a preferred specialty pharmacy provider by Bertek Pharmaceuticals Inc. for Apokyn,(TM) (apomorphine hydrochloride injection) a dopamine agonist drug indicated for the acute, intermittent treatment of hypomobility ("off" episodes) in patients that suffer from motor complications associated with advanced Parkinson's disease.

"We're proud to partner with Bertek to provide convenient distribution of Apokyn,(TM)" says Greg Weishar, president and CEO of PharmaCare. "Through our unique patient support services, PharmaCare will assist patients and caregivers by answering questions, plus provide coordinated delivery of Apokyn(TM) by overnight express."

Parkinson's disease is a progressive disorder of the central nervous system that affects as many as 1.5 million Americans. Approximately 60,000 new cases appear annually. The classic signs of an "off" episode in advanced Parkinson's disease are muscle stiffness, slow movements, and difficulty starting movements. Apokyn(TM) may help improve the ability to control movements (walk, talk, or move around easier) when used during an "off" episode.

"We are very excited to bring Apokyn(TM) to market, and look forward to providing this product to the Parkinson's community. Our relationship with PharmaCare, one of three specialty pharmacy providers we have contracted with, ensures both patients and physicians will have their Apokyn(TM) prescription needs fulfilled by a highly respected, patient focused organization," states James Mauzey, president of Bertek Pharmaceuticals, Inc.

Apokyn(TM) is used as an acute (rescue) therapy on an as needed basis to treat an "off" episode when it occurs in patients taking standard Parkinson's disease therapies. Apokyn(TM) is not used to prevent "off" episodes and doesn't replace other Parkinson's disease medicines. It is given by injection under the skin.

PharmaCare Specialty Pharmacy serves patients who require complex drug therapies which treat autoimmune disorders, hepatitis, cancer, multiple sclerosis, respiratory ailments, rheumatoid arthritis and other conditions. These drugs sometimes require injections and complicated dosing instructions, and can cost anywhere from $10,000 to $250,000 a year. To better support the financial and healthcare needs of patients, PharmaCare Specialty Pharmacy offers a variety of advanced services such as medication adherence monitoring, expert medication counseling, drug interaction monitoring, reimbursement assistance and patient counseling and education programs.

About Apokyn(TM)

Apokyn(TM) should not be used by patients who are being treated with certain drugs to treat nausea and vomiting or irritable bowel syndrome. These medications (including, for example, ondansetron, granisetron, dolasetron, palonesetron, and alosetron) called 5HT3 antagonists or blockers. In addition, Apokyn(TM) should not be used by patients who have an allergic reaction to the drug or its ingredients (notably sodium metabisulfite). Apokyn(TM) should be injected under the skin only, and not into a vein. Because Apokyn(TM) can cause severe nausea and vomiting, it is taken with an oral medicine that helps to prevent these effects. Apokyn(TM) may lower blood pressure (orthostatic hypotension), cause fainting, and increase the risk of falling. At recommended doses, minimal increases in QTC were observed. Caution should be used when prescribing apomorphine with drugs that prolong the QT/QTC interval. Some patients treated with Apokyn(TM) may get sleepy during the day or fall asleep without warning while doing everyday activities. The most common side effects of Apokyn(TM) are yawning, dyskinesias, nausea and/or vomiting, sleepiness, dizziness, runny nose, hallucinations, fluid retention, chest pain, increased sweating, flushing, and an unusually pale complexion.

PharmaCare, a leading prescription benefit manager (PBM), provides integrated network pharmacy claims processing, mail pharmacy services, specialty pharmaceuticals, benefit design consultation, drug utilization review, formulary management, disease management and medical drug data analysis services to over 15 million participants throughout the U.S. PharmaCare clients include managed care organizations, insurance companies, corporate health plans, unions, government agencies and other funded benefit plans. PharmaCare is a subsidiary of CVS Corporation (NYSE: CVS).

On April 5, 2004, PharmaCare entered into a definitive agreement under which it will acquire Eckerd Health Services, which includes Eckerd's mail order and pharmacy benefit management businesses. The transaction will double the size of PharmaCare to 30 million lives served with annual revenues in excess of $2 billion. The transaction is subject to review under the Hart- Scott Rodino Act as well as other customary closing conditions, and is expected to close in June of 2004. More information can be found at www.pharmacare.com.

Contact:
Patti Doyle
401-553-5107
pdoyle@rdwgroup.com

Lisa Bowen
401-334-0069
lmbowen@pharmacare.com

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