Pharmacy benefit provider Omnicare ( OCR) posted a jump in first-quarter profits, citing cost reductions and an acquisition that increased the number of patients served. For the quarter ended March 31, the Covington, Ky.-based company earned $40.4 million, or 42 cents a share, compared with $28.8 million, or 30 cents a share, in the previous-year quarter. Before certain items, the company earned 34 cents a share in the prior-year period. Total revenue was up 26% to $805.9 million. The company's institutional pharmacy business generated revenue of $763.2 million, up 28% from last year's $596.3 million. During the quarter, Omnicare acquired NCS HealthCare, which added about 182,000 beds served in the quarter. This brought Omnicare's total beds served to about 935,000, an increase of 28% over the 729,500 served one year ago. "In addition to the contribution from NCS, our results for the quarter reflected our ongoing cost control and productivity efforts and continued improvement in our overall financial health," said Joel F. Gemunder, chief executive. Shares of the company closed at $26.52 Wednesday on the New York Stock Exchange.