Company news

WellPoint Inc. lowered its 2012 profit forecast 23 cents per share, or nearly 3 percent, due to a $90 million settlement in a class-action lawsuit. Lawyers for former policyholders of Anthem Insurance Cos. Inc., the predecessor of Indianapolis-based WellPoint, disclosed the settlement Friday afternoon. Pending approval by a federal judge, the settlement would cover the claims of more than 700,000 former policyholders, whose stakes in Anthem were undervalued, according to the lawsuit, before the company’s 2001 conversion from a mutual insurance company into a publicly traded one. Because of the settlement, Anthem now expects to earn a 2012 profit of $7.57 per share, down from a previous estimate of $7.80 per share.

Hancock Regional Hospital is moving to acquire nearly 50 acres in McCordsville, even though it has no specific expansion plan. According to the Greenfield Daily Reporter, the hospital’s board of trustees approved spending up to $1.2 million for the 48.5-acre parcel in the Villages of Brookside development. Hancock Regional, based in Greenfield, has made a tentative offer for the land to its current owner, Cincinnati-based Fifth Third Bank. The offer hinges on an environmental assessment that is still under way. If the bid is accepted, said Rob Matt, Hancock Regional’s vice president of development, the land could become the location for additional medical office space, another wellness center or another surgery center. But in the short term, the hospital likely would lease the land for farming. “We’re not exactly sure what the future holds, but we think McCordsville is a great location for potential future expansion of a variety of health services,” Matt said. The land was part of a 300-acre development started in 2005. But the sections of the project that were marked off for business and apartments have been slow to develop because of the housing slump, financial crisis and recession.

Eli Lilly and Co. invested $20 million in a Chinese pharmaceutical company in an effort to build a portfolio of branded generic medicines in the fast-growing Asian market. Novast Laboratories Ltd., based north of Shanghai, received a $10 million initial investment from Indianapolis-based Lilly five years ago. The new money, announced June 12, will fund an expansion of Novast’s manufacturing capabilities. Lilly is working with Novast to develop a catalog of generic versions of medicines not created by Lilly that will be branded with the Lilly name. Down the road, Novast also may take on manufacturing responsibilities for new drugs Lilly launches in China and other Asian countries. Since 2009, Lilly has rapidly ramped up sales and research functions in China, and now employs more than 3,000 people there. In June, Lilly announced the opening of a research and development center in Shanghai focused exclusively on diabetes. It employs 150. Lilly's sales in China increased 31 percent last year, to nearly $420 million, according to company officials.

An Indian-born physician fired by St. Vincent Health is suing the hospital network in federal court on charges of discrimination and harassment. Seema Nayak filed her suit June 13 and is seeking past and future pay in addition to other damages for the hospital’s “malicious and/or reckless conduct.” St. Vincent officials did not return messages seeking comment on the suit. Nayak’s suit follows a complaint she filed in October 2010 with the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, which granted her the right to sue. Her employment contract was not renewed by the hospital in June 2010. She began her first-year residency program at St. Vincent in July 2007 in the obstetrics and gynecology department. Though Nayak exceeded performance standards during her first- and second-year residencies, according to the suit, she became the target of discrimination from other residents due to her accent and Indian origin. Later, her suit alleges, St. Vincent also pressured her to return to work quickly after taking maternity leave and then retaliated against her by giving her an especially difficult residency rotation.

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