We also continued to generate solid cash flow with first quarter cash flow from continuing operations of $100 million or nearly 84% of our adjusted income before income taxes. And while John will discuss how that cash was allocated during the quarter, I believe we've been consistent in returning at least 25% of our cash flows to shareholders, while also looking at ways to improve our capital structure and generate attractive returns through acquisitions. We believe this disciplined approach to capital allocation, coupled with a robust cash flow characteristics of our company, provides for a compelling opportunity for our shareholders.
Turning now to our operating performance. A few items stand out. We continue to benefit from certain pharmaceutical market dynamics: further improvements in efficiency and standardization; a decline for the quarter in the number of beds served, as we had expected; and a robust growth within our specialty care group.
With respect to the pharmaceutical market dynamics, we have seen a number of high volume branded products convert to generic form during the past 6 months, and we have been effective in driving rapid conversion to these low-cost alternatives. In fact, our generic dispensing rate expanded 80 basis points during the quarter to 80.1%. And because we believe there are still a number of significant generic drugs yet to be introduced into the market and other exclusive generic drugs are soon to become multi- sourced, there is still opportunity for Omnicare, our customers and payers to capture additional savings.
I believe Omnicare's generic drug efficiencies, coupled with our unique clinical programs, enable us to generate savings that provided tremendous amount of value for our customers. In fact, we recently met with a new regional customer and evaluated their savings attributed to our therapeutic interchange programs and a brand to generic efficiency program, and this new customer was pleased to see we saved them over $250,000 in the fourth quarter alone. When we benefit from our clinical expertise and generic drug efficiencies, our customers do, too. And that is why we believe Omnicare and our customers are uniquely positioned to benefit from this generic wave we are currently writing.Read the rest of this transcript for free on seekingalpha.com
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