PHARMACY

Costco pharmacy sales jump 4 percent in first quarter

BY Doug Desjardins

ISSAQUAH, Wash. Costco’s pharmacy sales increased 4 percent to $634 million during the first quarter with a higher volume of generic drugs cutting into revenues.

Costco reported a 1.2 percent increase in prescription sales to $306 million for the quarter and a 6.8 percent jump in over-the-counter sales to $328 million. The company ended the quarter with 383 pharmacies.

Overall, Costco produced another strong showing with sales of food and electronics leading the way. Costco posted earnings of $262 million for the quarter and total sales of $15.81 billion compared to $14.15 billion last year. Same store sales at its U.S. stores increased 6 percent for the three-month period ended Nov. 25.

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Stake in drug-testing contractor purchased in $3 billion-plus deal

BY Adam Kraemer

NEW YORK In a deal worth a reported $3 billion-plus, One Equity Partners’ stake in drug trial manager Quintiles Translational is being sold to its chief executive and other buyout firms, including Bain Capital and TPG Capital, according to The New York Times.

Dennis Gillings, founder of Quintiles and its chief executive officer and chairman, has teamed up with Bain and TPG to take control of the stake from One Equity, the private equity arm of JPMorgan Chase, which also sponsored the company’s $1.7 billion buyout in 2003.

Gillings had previously offered to buy the company in 2002 for $1.3 billion, but that number was rejected as being too low.

Quintiles, based in Research Triangle Park, N.C., has more than 19,000 employees. At the time of its founding in 1982, Gillings was a professor of biostatistics at the University of North Carolina. The company went public in 1994.

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Jazz, Solvay receive approvable letter from FDA regarding extended-release Luvox

BY Adam Kraemer

PALO ALTO, Calif. The Food and Drug Administration issued an approvable letter for Jazz Pharmaceuticals’ Once-a-Day Luvox CR (fluvoxamine maleate), which the company is trying to market as an extended-release capsule indicated for the treatment of social anxiety disorder and obsessive compulsive disorder.

Jazz has teamed up with Solvay Pharmaceuticals to market the drug. The FDA earlier this month approved the regular formulation of Luvox for the treatment of OCD.

The companies are seeking clarification from the FDA and look forward to working with the FDA to resolve any issues as quickly as possible. They stressed that the approvable letter did not raise any questions related to the safety or efficacy of Luvox CR.

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