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Coutu: Pharmacy growth driving results despite generic price changes

BY Michael Johnsen

LONGUEUIL, Québec — Jean Coutu Group on Tuesday reported revenue of 635.2 million Canadian dollars (US $598.5 million) during the second quarter ended Aug. 27, an increase of 1.5%. Net profit per share came in at C$0.29, including a C$0.10 gain on sale of Rite Aid’s shares, compared with C$0.18 during the second quarter of fiscal year 2011.

Coutu credited the slight lift to market growth and a growing store base, but cautioned that the wave of generic drug introductions, coupled with the price reductions of generic drugs previously decreed by the Québec government, would have a negative drag on earnings. "Despite the price reductions of generic drugs, we have posted a significant growth of our operational results, which demonstrates the success of the implementation of our business plan,” stated François Coutu, president and CEO.

Shares of Coutu stock were down slightly, around 1.2%, from prior-day trading on the Toronto Stock Exchange. Earlier this morning, Coutu stock was down as much as 5%.

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Taro adds new member to board

BY Allison Cerra

HAWTHORNE, N.Y. — Taro Pharmaceutical Industries recently appointed a new member to its board, following the resignation of Hasmukh Shah.

Shah, who cited personal reasons for leaving the drug maker’s board, was replaced by Dov Pekelman, who currently serves as chairman of both Atera Networks and Gilon Investments. Pekelman also served as senior consultant for Teva Pharmaceutical Industries from 1985 to 2008.

Pekelman will serve until Taro’s next annual general meeting of shareholders.


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Amneal launches generic Felbatol

BY Allison Cerra

BRIDGEWATER, N.J. — Amneal last month launched its version of an epilepsy treatment.

The drug maker said that felbamate tablets are available in 400-mg and 600-mg strengths, following approval from the Food and Drug Administration last month. The drug is the first-to-market generic equivalent of Meda Pharmaceuticals’ Felbatol, Amneal said.

The Amneal generic is available in 90-count bottles in 400-mg strength and 90- and 180-count sizes in 600-mg strength, the company said.

Annual U.S. sales of Felbatol totaled $43.7 million, according to IMS Health data.


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