PHARMACY

Bi-Lo, Winn-Dixie offer prescriptions at no upfront cost to insurance marketplace enrollees

BY Alaric DeArment

GREENVILLE, S.C. — Bi-Lo and Winn-Dixie will cover initial prescription costs for customers who have enrolled in the health insurance marketplaces, but who don’t yet have their identification cards, the chains said.

The supermarket chains, both banners owned by Bi-Lo Holdings, will offer 30-day supplies of most prescription drugs at no upfront cost to health insurance marketplace enrollees until Jan. 31.

"Many of our customers need their prescriptions immediately and without interruption," Bi-Lo VP pharmacy John Fegan said. "By filling certain prescriptions at no upfront cost for up to 30 days, we hope to help make their transition to the public health insurance marketplace a little easier."

Customers hoping to receive the benefit must provide proof of enrollment, such as an email, letter or temporary identification card.

 

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Canada’s Jean Coutu Group posts Q3 results

BY Antoinette Alexander

LONGUEIL, Quebec — The Jean Coutu Group posted a boost in third-quarter net profits as revenues decreased largely because of the growth in generic drug prescriptions.

“The results of the third quarter of fiscal 2014 highlight the performance of our organization since the operating income and the profit per share recorded a significant increase in spite of a growing competitive environment and a restrictive regulatory context,” said Francois Coutu, president and CEO. “Our priority over the coming months will be to continue the implementation of dynamic strategic initiatives that will contribute to increase sales, pursue our growth and maintain our leadership.”

During the quarter ended Nov. 30, operating income before amortization rose 3.4%, despite the deflationary impact on pharmacy sales of a strong generic drugs penetration.

Net profit totaled Canadian $62.5 million, or 30 Canadian cents per share, compared with C$56.2 million, or 26 Canadian cents per share, in the year-ago period.

Revenues totaled C$712.5 million compared with C$716.6 million. The company attributed the decrease to the deflationary impact on revenues of the significant volume increase in prescriptions of generic drugs as well as the price reductions of generic drugs.

On a same-store basis, the company’s retail sales slipped 1.3%. Pharmacy same-store sales decreased 1.6% as front-end same-store sales decreased 1.3%.
 

 

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Forest Labs buys specialty drug maker Aptalis

BY Alaric DeArment

NEW YORK — Forest Labs will buy privately owned drug maker Aptalis for $2.9 billion, Forest said Thursday.

Aptalis specializes in making drugs for gastrointestinal disorders and cystic fibrosis, with sales of $688 million in fiscal year 2013. More than 60% of its sales come from the ulcer treatment Carafate (sucralfate), the inflammatory bowel disease treatment Canasa (melamine) and the cystic fibrosis drug Zenpep (pancrelipase).

"Aptalis has an excellent strategy and financial fit for Forest because of its strong product offerings in two therapeutic franchises that are complementary to Forest — [gastrointestinal] in the United States and Canada and cystic fibrosis in Europe," Forest president and CEO Brent Saunders said. "The acquisition of Aptalis helps to diversify Forest while advancing our strategy to create blockbuster therapeutic areas."

 

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