PHARMACY

Amneal’s president, CEO win Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year award

BY Allison Cerra

BRIDGEWATER, N.J. — Chirag Patel and Chintu Patel, who respectively are the president and CEO of Amneal Pharmaceuticals, recently received the Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year award.

The executives received the 2011 New Jersey Award in the pharmaceutical and medical technology category, which was presented at a gala event last month.

As Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year 2011 New Jersey Award winners, Chintu and Chirag Patel, who cofounded Amneal in 2002, now are eligible for consideration for the Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year 2011 national award. Award winners will be announced at the annual awards gala in Palm Springs, Calif., on Nov. 12.

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Navarro marks first store opening in five years

BY Antoinette Alexander

MIAMI — Navarro Discount Pharmacy, the largest Hispanic-owned pharmacy chain in the United States and an MBF Healthcare portfolio company, has announced the opening of its 29th store in North Miami in the Arch Creek Shopping Center — marking its first new store in five years.

The company is in the midst of a 22-store expansion strategy and expects to open additional stores in the next three to six months in Homestead and Pembroke Pines.

More than 200 people were on hand for the grand opening, including City of North Miami Mayor Andre Pierre, the North Miami City Council and North Miami Chamber of Commerce executive director Ron Welsandt. A donation of $5,000 was made to the Florida International University Scholarship Fund, a local college.

The new 14,000-sq.-ft. store features Navarro’s new merchandise layout, new colors, enhanced signage and improved services for customers, such as a pediatric window for busy parents, free compounding pharmacy services, a free Diabetes Club for adults and children with diabetes, and free prescription delivery for all customers.

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Pfizer stands by Chantix

BY Alaric DeArment

NEW YORK — Pfizer defended a drug used for smoking cessation Monday following reports of a Canadian study that found it raised the risk of heart problems.

The 8,216-patient study of Chantix (varenicline), published in the Canadian Medical Association Journal, found that of the 4,908 patients who received Chantix, 52 had an increased risk of serious heart problems, with similar risks appearing in 27-of-the-3,308 patients who took placebo.

Pfizer responded by pointing out that the authors of the study said the cardiovascular risk “estimates are imprecise owing to the low event rates.”

“Pfizer scientists and doctors continuously evaluate the benefits and risks of its medicines, including Chantix,” Pfizer VP medical affairs Gail Cawkwell said. “The currently available safety data on Chantix, including a pooled analysis of clinical data in 7,375 people trying to quit smoking, do not support an increased cardiovascular risk associated with Chantix.”

Still, the study’s findings won’t do the drug any favors. In 2008, the Federal Aviation Administration banned its use by pilots and air-traffic controllers after it was found to increase the risk of depression and suicidal thoughts and behaviors, and the Food and Drug Administration ordered that it carry a boxed warning, the strongest possible safety label, in 2009.

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