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Walgreens set to buy rival Rite Aid in $17.2 billion deal

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US drugstore chain Walgreens Boots Alliance announced Tuesday it would take over rival Rite Aid to strengthen its position as the country’s second-largest pharmacy network.

Walgreens Boots will pay $9.4 billion in cash for Rite Aid, and after acquired debt is included, the total value of the deal will hit $17.2 billion, it said.

The deal will create a formidable challenger to US market leader CVS Health, though it could also raise questions about ongoing consolidation in the health-care sector.

It will bring Walgreens Boots’s 13,100 stores in a dozen countries, with sales of $76.4 billion in 2014, together with Rite Aid’s 4,600 stores and in the US and $26.5 billion in sales.

The announced deal comes less than a year after Walgreens swallowed up the British pharmacy and cosmetics chain Boots.

“Walgreens Boots Alliance will provide to Rite Aid its global expertise and resources to accelerate the delivery of integrated frontline care, and to offer innovative solutions for providers, payers and other entities in the US healthcare system,” said Walgreens Boots chief executive Stefano Pessina in a statement.

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“Our complementary retail pharmacy footprints in the US will create an even better network, with more health and wellness solutions available in stores and online.”

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Chuck Todd’s terrible interview with fabricator-in-chief Trump snapped the tether: From here on out there’s no truth

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Nothing will ever be the same again. Donald Trump’s unwavering disregard for reality and his acts of violence against the truth are rapidly metastasizing into the marrow of the national debate. I'm not sure we have enough heroes in this country to successfully extricate Trumpism and toss it into the biohazard waste bin of history, along other embarrassments in America's mixed record.

The very fabric of right and wrong in America is disintegrating as one of our two major parties, with some crucial help from Russia, has convinced four out of every 10 voters that verifiable truth is nothing more than a fake news plot against them and their beloved Fifth Avenue Clampetts. As a result, half of the political debate, from the local level on up, is built exclusively on wrongness — on total nonsense, invented by Trump himself along with his propaganda cable network.

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New York’s legislature gives landlords a lesson in democracy

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The knockout punch that the New York State Legislature just landed fighting landlords over spiraling rents ought to be attracting wider attention.

Just as with healthcare access or prescription drug prices, the cost of rent increases that mostly benefit big apartment owners is a challenge to the income-gap society that are at the heart of the national political debate. Every urban center in the country is having housing problems, and rents, like mortgages, are a subject at every kitchen table.

For once, the New York Legislature, whose Democrats overcame internecine divisions this session, has abolished rules that let building owners deregulate apartments, and closed loopholes that have permitted landlords to raise rents. And the changes for better tenant protection were made permanent, eliminating the recurring drama over these issues.

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DC Report

Trump’s EPA wants minimal limits on poison in drinking water

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The Trump EPA calculated recommended limits of a dangerous chemical sometimes found in drinking water that can harm babies’ brain development that were more than 9 times higher than those imposed by a few states by fudging a key number in the calculation.

The Trump recommended a limit for perchlorate, which can harm infant brain development, of 56 micrograms per liter, far above the limit of 6 that California imposed and 2 that Massachusetts set, more than a decade ago.

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 ENOUGH IS ENOUGH 

Trump endorses killing journalists, like Washington Post columnist Jamal Khashoggi. Online ad networks are now targeting sites that cover acts of violence against dissidents, LGBTQ people and people of color.

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