PHARMACY

API, United Drugs agree to merge

BY Alaric DeArment

PHOENIX Two cooperatives for independent pharmacies have agreed to merge.

Scottsboro, Ala.-based Associated Pharmacies Inc., which describes itself as a member-owned cooperative that allows independent pharmacy owners to buy wholesale products the way chains do, will merge with United Drugs, based in Phoenix, which provides contracting and buying services.

“We have a ringing endorsement by both corporate boards and both memberships, providing just one indication that we’re making the right move in creating a truly independent force in retail pharmacy,” API CEO Jon Copeland said. “Because we both have very successful operations … nothing at all changes for our respective members, except they will all have a broader range of opportunities.”

The deal is expected to close on July 1, when both companies will become wholly owned subsidiaries of Minnesota-based American Associated Pharmacies.

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Aurora Health Care to honor cancer survivors

BY Alaric DeArment

MILWAUKEE With more people diagnosed with cancer every year but more of them surviving, a nonprofit healthcare system in eastern Wisconsin plans to honor cancer survivors.

Aurora Health Care, which runs the Aurora Pharmacy chain as well as a network of hospitals and clinics, announced Tuesday that it would mark National Cancer Survivors Day on Saturday with several events in three Wisconsin cities.

“There has been great progress in cancer prevention, early detection and treatment that has resulted in ever-increasing numbers of survivors,” Aurora Health Care VP cancer services Joseph Mirro said. “Now that more patients are being cured of their cancer and living longer, there’s a growing number of survivors with unique needs.”

Events will include a walk and run for cancer in Milwaukee, a gathering in Sheboygan and booths offering cancer screenings and information in Oshkosh.

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FDA gives tentative approval to generic breast cancer treatment

BY Alaric DeArment

ROCKVILLE, Md. The Food and Drug Administration has given tentative approval to a generic drug for treating breast cancer.

The drug, Roxane Labs’ letrozole tablets in the 2.5 mg strength, is a generic version of Novartis’ Femara.

Femara had global sales of $1.13 billion in 2008, according to Novartis financial data. Novartis’ patent on the drug will expire in 2011, according to the FDA’s Orange Book.

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