PHARMACY

Benzer Pharmacy rolls out RxTakeBack kiosks at 2 locations

BY David Salazar
TAMPA, Fla. — Benzer Pharmacy on Tuesday announced a new service that it is offering at two locations. Using PharmaLink’s RxTakeBack program, Benzer has made it possible for patients to dispose of unwanted or expired prescription and OTC drugs, including controlled substances, at one Tampa and one Pompano Beach, Fla. Location. Each store features a kiosk for drug disposal. 
 
“With the RxTakeBack kiosks, we can now mitigate prescription drug abuse, ensure there is zero percent landfill waste, and eliminate groundwater contamination,” Benzer Pharmacy clinical coordinator Wendy Cavanaugh said.
 
Last year, Benzer introduced its Dispose My Meds prescription drug take-back program in partnership with the National Community Pharmacists Association, but patients could not use it for controlled substances. 
 
“Benzer Pharmacy welcomes everyone in the community to come and talk to our pharmacists about their prescriptions and how to store, use and dispose of them properly,” Cavanaugh said. 
 
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Jean Coutu sees generics slow Q1 Rx retail sales growth

BY DSN STAFF
VARENNES, Quebec — Canada’s Jean Coutu group on Tuesday released the sales and earnings figures from its FY2017 first quarter, which ended May 28. For the quarter, the company saw revenues of $723.6 million — a 1.6% rise over the same quarter last year. The company attributes its sales growth to overall market growth and the expansion of its franchised store network. 
 
“During the first quarter, network retail sales showed an increase despite a very competitive environment and a difficult regulatory context, which demonstrates the effectiveness of our strategies and the strength of our brand,” Jean Coutu group president and CEO François J. Coutu said. “We will continue to make every effort required to reach our objectives and remain a leader in our sector.”
 
Some factors that held back Q1 revenues were an increase in volume in generic drugs and lower prices for generic drugs. The price reductions and new generic introductions reduced the company’s pharmacy  retail sales by 0.4% collectively. Total store prescription growth was 4% and same-store growth hit 3.8% in Q1, while pharmacy retail sales only grew 0.8%. 
 
Besides market pressure, Jean Coutu group attribute a 1.3% reduced growth in pharmacy sales to deductions agreed upon by Quebec’s leading pharmacists organization and its department of social services. 
 

The company’s Pro Doc generics manufacturing arm saw gross sales of $51.5 million for the quarter, up from $50.3 million for the same period last year, contributing $21.3 million to the company’s consolidated operating income before amortization — contributing about 41.4% as a percentage of gross sales. The company’s total OIBA decreased by $6 million to $77 million in the quarter. 

The company posted a net profit of $49 million, or $0.27 per share. 
 

 

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Appeals court overturns Visa/Mastercard swipe fee settlement, earning industry praise

BY David Salazar
Retail and pharmacy organizations are welcoming a ruling made recently striking down the 2012 settlement of a class action lawsuit over Visa and MasterCard’s credit card swipe fees.
 
The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit in New York on Thursday overturned a December 2013 approval of the settlement by U.S. District Court Judge John Gleeson. The settlement came in a 2005 lawsuit brought by 19 retailers and trade associations but 10 of the plaintiffs, including all of the associations, rejected the settlement when it was unveiled in 2012. Among the organizations that were plaintiffs is the National Community Pharmacists Association, which praised the ruling. 
 
“NCPA joined this lawsuit to achieve meaningful, long-term reforms to the current swipe fee system. This proposed settlement came woefully short and NCPA commends the court’s decision to nullify it,” NCPA CEO B. Douglas Hoey said. “The proposed settlement did not impose necessary fundamental changes to the structure of the industry and the rules affecting merchants, particularly small business community pharmacies.”
 
The Retail Industry Leaders Association (RILA)  opeted out and objected to the settlement in 2014 and welcomed it being overturned. 
 
"RILA enthusiastically welcomes the circuit court's decision to throw out this harmful settlement," EVP and general counsel Deborah White said. “Quite simply, the settlement orchestrated by the card networks and banks would have undermined merchants' legal rights forever and would have allowed Visa and MasterCard to impose higher and higher swipe fees with impunity. Today's decision is a victory for all merchants and consumers.”
 
The National Retail Federation (NRF), another organization that wasn’t party to the lawsuit, but appealed the ruling in 2014 on behalf of many of its members said that under the settlement small retailers would have seen as little as a few hundred dollars under the settlement. Retailers who rejected the monetary settlement would have still been bound by other restrictions the court would not let them opt out of, including a prohibition on future lawsuits over the fees.
 
Data cited by the NRF shows that credit card swipe fees average about 2% of each transaction and amounted to about $30 billion a year at the time of the settlement.
 
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