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Commcare scores high on customer service

BY Allison Cerra

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. Commcare Pharmacy found that more than 99% of its customers are satisfied with its services, according to the specialty pharmacy provider’s recent survey.

According to the survey, 99.45% of patients approved of the services they received from Commcare. In 2008, a similar survey found the satisfaction rate to be 98.69% with a 5.7% response rate.

“Commcare’s High-Touch Patient-Centric Model is what differentiates our company from other specialty providers,” said Commcare CEO Nicholas Saraniti. “It’s great to know our model is working by having it re-affirmed by the people whom count the most; our patients.”

Full survey results and select patient comments are available on the company’s Web site at http://www.CommcarePharmacy.com.

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FDA warns consumers on using sexual enhancement products

BY Michael Johnsen

BETHESDA, Md. The Food and Drug Administration on Thursday warned consumers that Stiff Nights, a product marketed as a dietary supplement for sexual enhancement, contains an ingredient that can dangerously lower blood pressure and is illegal.

Over the past several years, the FDA has found many products marketed as “dietary supplements” for sexual enhancement that contain undeclared active ingredients of FDA-approved drugs, analogs of approved drugs and other compounds that do not qualify as “dietary ingredients.” The FDA has issued multiple alerts about these contaminated dietary supplements.

Consumers and healthcare professionals should be aware of this problem and the health hazard it presents. Sexual enhancement products that claim to work as well as prescription products are likely to contain a contaminant. Use of such products exposes consumers to unpredictable risk and the potential for injury or even death.

In the case of Stiff Nights, following a consumer complaint, the FDA determined that the product contains sulfoaildenafil. This is a chemical similar to sildenafil, the active ingredient in Pfizer’s Viagra. Sulfoaildenafil may interact with prescription drugs known as nitrates, including nitroglycerin, and cause dangerously low blood pressure.

The product is distributed on Internet sites and at retail stores by Impulsaria of Grand Rapids, Mich. It is sold in bottles containing six, 12, or 30 red capsules or in blister packs containing one or two capsules.

“Because this product is labeled as an ‘all natural dietary supplement,’ consumers may assume it is harmless and poses no health risk,” stated Deborah Autor, director of FDA’s Center for Drug Evaluation and Research Office of Compliance. “In fact, this product is illegally marketed and can cause serious complications.”

The FDA advises consumers who have experienced any adverse events from sexual enhancement products to consult a healthcare professional.

The FDA remains committed to stopping the illegal marketing of unapproved drugs and will continue to protect the public with vigorous law enforcement and criminal prosecution of violators.

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Fred’s reports increase in Q3 sales

BY Michael Johnsen

MEMPHIS, Tenn. Discounter Fred’s on Thursday posted sales of $422.7 million for its third quarter ended Oct. 31, up 1%.

Comparable store sales for the quarter increased 1%, compared with a 1.4% increase in the third quarter last year.

“We experienced a solid sales performance in our pharmacy department during October, highlighted by strong script growth as our Prescription Plus program continues to gain momentum,” stated Bruce Efird, Fred’s CEO. “In the general merchandise departments, sales for the month were below our projected range. For the quarter, overall comparable store sales ended at the midrange,” he said.

“Throughout the quarter, the key states where we are located have experienced unemployment of more than 10% – higher than the national average – resulting in customers who are both frugal and cautious,” Efird continued. “With competitive promotional activity accelerating, we adjusted our approach to maintaining market share by adding increased advertising and price promotions during the quarter. While it brought increased unit volume, total sales were below the required level to offset the added markdowns and advertising expense.”

During October, Fred’s opened four express pharmacy locations. For the third quarter, the company opened one store, eight pharmacies and closed nine stores.

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