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Rx Drugs Over The Internet


Inside Wall Street

Rx DRUGS OVER THE INTERNET

Advanced Health (ADVH) found out just how edgy investors can be when an analyst reduced fourth-quarter revenue projections for the health-care management company. The stock tumbled--from 14 a share to 10--right after the analyst made the move on Dec. 27. By Jan. 13, Advanced Health, which had traded as high as 16 7/8 on Dec. 3, had slumped a bit more, to 9.

The analyst, Jason Rosenbluth of the San Francisco investment firm Volpe Welty, tried to reassure investors that the company, which provides doctors with integrated management services, including quick clinical and insurance information on patients, should be judged on earnings growth, not revenues. He was sticking, he said, to projections of 48 cents a share for 1997 and 99 cents for 1998. And his 12-month target for the price stays at 23.

He argues that the stock's decline provides a "terrific buying opportunity" because of Advanced Health's brightening prospects. Here's why: Advanced Health has become the first such outfit to offer online prescription services, linking doctors with pharmacies via the Internet. Its electronic prescription-writing service, called Script Writer, lets physicians write prescriptions on-line and file them immediately with a pharmacy. The patient's prescription history is also made available online.

On Jan. 14, Advanced Health signed a pact with Physicians Online to market the service, initially through its 135,000 members. "The agreement positions Advanced Health as a leading player in the doctor-Internet technology arena," says Kathy Miner, an analyst at Cowen, who also is high on the stock. She expects the company to announce several deals, including strategic alliances with larger companies. One deal believed to be forthcoming is for another large health-care company to buy a stake in Advanced Health.BY GENE G. MARCIAL


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