Specialty Products Help Drive Growth For Big Drug Distributor and New, Faster Network Standard Drives Growth For Hardware Maker

The name AmerisourceBergen (ABC) may not roll easily off the tongue, but chances are the products it distributes have been part of your life and well-being.

The company is a major distributor of pharmaceuticals to hospitals, clinics, surgery centers, nursing homes, long-term care facilities and to independent as well as regional chain pharmacies.

AmerisourceBergen buys drugs from manufacturers and ships them as needed to thousands of retail and institutional pharmacy customers on a just-in-time basis.

One of its growing businesses is specialty drug distribution. [Read the full article]

The Wi-Fi standard adopted in 2003, 802.11g, was fine for your laptop or smart phone, but it was a little poky for businesses. The 802.11n standard offers more speed and capacity. It’s been around for more than two years, but it got a big boost in September when the standard-setting trade group IEEE formally ratified it.

Aruba Networks (ARUN) is one big beneficiary of the change. Founded in 2002, the firm has been providing wireless local area networks (LANs) for years. But now 11n is the main driver of growth. In the fiscal first quarter ended Oct. 31, 11n-based gear supplied 42% of shipments.

This signals a larger move toward wireless LANs, says Chief Operating Officer Hitesh Sheth. While long popular in universities and retail businesses, the technology is penetrating such sectors as finance, health care and government.

“Wireless LAN technology is now being viewed as a true alternative to legacy wired infrastructure,” Sheth said. [Read the full article]

Business has indeed been looking up for Mountain View, Calif.-based Conceptus, which makes the first proven nonsurgical permanent birth-control product for women.

The firm’s one and only product is called Essure. Using a thin telescopic instrument called a hysteroscope, a doctor inserts the coiled-spring device into the fallopian tube through the cervix.

The body then forms a natural barrier around the micro-insert to prevent sperm from reaching the egg.

Clinical data show the procedure to be 99.8% effective with zero pregnancies based on four years of follow-up.

Conceptus was initially formed in 1992, but it wasn’t until 2002 that the Food and Drug Administration gave approval to market Essure in the U.S. It took longer, however, for insurance companies to reimburse patients for the procedure.

“Sales from 2006, when reimbursement was universal, (have) shown good growth,” said analyst Jonathan Block of SunTrust Robinson Humphrey. [Read the full article]

Americans cut credit-card use by nearly 19% in November, the largest drop since December 1974, the Federal Reserve said. Revolving credit fell by 10% on average in the prior two months.

Credit-card use is growing slower than debit-card transactions, with cash-strapped consumers reluctant to run balances. Instead, shoppers with a desire to stick to a budget opt to pay with debit, which draws cash directly from bank accounts.

Dull credit growth, some argue, is due to the overall effect of the weak economy and not necessarily because customers are switching from credit to debit.

Regardless, MasterCard (MA) has a higher exposure to credit cards than its chief rival, Visa (V). But the world’s No. 2 credit-card network is making a strong push into the markets of debit and prepaid cards.

On Thursday, Atlanta-based SunTrust (STI), with 5 million debit-card holders, announced it was switching from Visa to MasterCard debits. [Read the full article]

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