Pharmacy Industry Leaders Launch Firm to Supply Real-Time Data

In an unprecedented cooperative effort in health-care, 10 leading pharmacy provider companies have formed a new venture, named ArcLight Systems, LLC, that collects and reports up-to-the-minute information on pharmaceutical prescription trends in America. ArcLight ( ) is based in Dublin, Ohio and Paradise Valley, Nev.

ArcLight's five managing companies, with annual sales totaling more than $300 billion, serve to form one of the largest retail-services ventures of its kind. They are:

Albertson's, Inc., Boise, Idaho Cardinal Health, Inc., Dublin, Ohio CVS Corp., Woonsocket, R.I., Kmart Corp., Troy, Mich. Wal-Mart Stores, Inc., Bentonville, Ark.

Additional founding partners include: Duane Reade, Inc., of New York City; Happy Harry's, Inc., of Newark, Dela.; Kerr Drug, of Durham, N.C.; Lewis Drug, of Sioux Falls, S.D.; and May's Drug Stores of Tulsa. All partners bring a long-term commitment to ArcLight as data contributors. Cardinal and CVS contributed capital, technology and employees, as well as existing business
initiatives to the venture. Additional partnerships are being pursued.

ArcLight's main information product -- R(x)ealTime(TM) -- will deliver at Internet speed a constant stream of pharmaceutical marketing and sales information produced from aggregating non-patient identifiable data from nearly one billion prescriptions annually.

R(x)ealTime gives pharmaceutical marketers and others access to a 24-hour stream of information pooled from thousands of partner pharmacies located in virtually every community in America. The data are statistically comprehensive and are available faster than from any other source in the industry.

In fact, R(x)ealTime allows drug manufacturers to instantly track sales of pharmaceuticals, analyze trends, assess the impact of new product introductions and gauge the effectiveness of product advertising and other promotions. ArcLight is able to create customized market reports that uncover unique correlations and trends in prescription drug use across the country. The information is accessible globally via the Internet and is continuously updated every 10 minutes.

ArcLight, whose corporate headquarters are in Dublin, Ohio, and data-facilities based in Paradise Valley, Nev., has named its two top executives. Thomas Ludlam, 44 years old, former president of Bristol-Myers Squibb Co.'s Oncology Therapeutics Network, has been name CEO. Fritz Krieger, 46, former general manager of Cardinal Health Information Companies, a unit of Cardinal Health, has been named chief operating officer.

"The key advantage of R(x)ealTime data for pharmaceutical manufacturers, product managers and others tracking the health-care industry is the ability to track on a
real-time basis the positive or negative impacts of market events," said newly appointed CEO Ludlam. Users can track the impact of their product launches, competitors' product launches, drugs going generic, fresh marketing campaigns, new product positioning or new indications.

R(x)ealTime already is installed with 13 major pharmaceutical manufacturers and will be available with a full database in the fourth quarter. ArcLight's customers,
primarily pharmaceutical manufacturers, will pay a subscription fee for access to the online service.

Krieger, who spent 20 years in the pharmaceutical industry in a variety of marketing and sales roles, as well as marketing research, said the speed and depth of the information provided by R(x)ealTime is unsurpassed. "R(x)ealTime provides market share and volume information practically on an immediate basis. This lets pharmaceutical manufacturers rapidly assess the effectiveness of marketing/sales programs and factor mid-course corrections," he said.