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Delhaize Group to purchase BI-LO stores

BY Alaric DeArment

BRUSSELS, Belgium Supermarket operator Delhaize Group has expressed a desire to buy out most of southern U.S. supermarket chain BI-LO, the Belgian company announced Monday.

Delhaize sent BI-LO a non-binding letter of intent to stating that it wished to buy a “substantial majority” of BI-LO’s assets for $425 million. The chain, headquartered in Mauldin, S.C., operates 214 stores in North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee and Georgia and employs more than 15,000 people. Of the 214 stores, 120 have pharmacies, according to www.chainstoreguide.com.

 

Delhaize, which operates the competing Food Lion chain, made the move in light of BI-LO’s recent filing for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection.

“We at Food Lion, LLC have great admiration for the associates and stores at BI-LO,” Delhaize EVP and Food Lion president and CEO Rick Anicetti said in a statement. “We believe our markets and service philosophy are complementary, and we look forward to continuing our discussions with BI-LO.”

BI-LO has signed the letter of intent, which signals that it prefers to sell the assets to Delhaize, though the offer remains subject to court approval and other conditions.

“All options for BI-LO remain under consideration, and we believe it is important to carefully review our options and determine the most appropriate course of action in the context of the Chapter 11 process,” BI-LO president and CEO Michael Byars said in a statement. “The company plans to work constructively with all parties in order to effectuate a successful restructuring.”

CLARIFICATION: Drug Store News reported Monday that Delhaize Group will buy out most of southern U.S. supermarket chain BI-LO; however, a nonbinding offer was made to BI-LO by the Belgium-based company.

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Amgen, GSK, Novartis win top drug industry award

BY Alaric DeArment

NEW YORK Biotechnology company Amgen won a 2009 Prix Galien Award for a drug used to treat a rare autoimmune bleeding disorder, the Prix Galien USA committee announced Thursday.

The Thousand Oaks, Calif.-based drug maker won the Prix Galien USA Best Biotechnology Product award for Nplate (romiplostim), the first treatment specifically developed for chronic immune thrombocytopenic purpura and the first peptibody protein approved by the Food and Drug Administration. ITP results from a low number of platelets, causing the blood to fail to clot as it should and resulting in purple bruises on the skin and mucous membranes.

British drug maker GlaxoSmithKline also won the Best Biotechnology Product award, for Promacta (eltrombopag), used to treat thrombocytopenia.

Novartis won the Best Pharmaceutical Product award for the cancer drug Gleevec (imatinib mesylate). French pharmacist Roland Mehl started the Prix Galien in 1970, and it was brought to the United States in 2007. The award is meant to recognize technical, scientific and clinical research achievements in the development of medicines and medical technologies.

“The 2009 Prix Galien USA winners represent what is possible when basic scientific research translates into drug development and discovery,” New York University School of Medicine professor and Prix Galien USA committee chairman Gerald Weissmann said in a statement. “We all benefit from the research that provides new treatments for the millions of cancer patients worldwide and for patients living with rare blood diseases.”

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Wegmans ranks high on J.D. Power and Associates 2009 National Pharmacy Study

BY Michael Johnsen

ROCHESTER, N.Y. The results of J.D. Power and Associates 2009 National Pharmacy Study were recently released, with Wegmans Pharmacy ranked “Highest in Customer Satisfaction with Supermarket Pharmacies,” Wegmans announced earlier this week.

More than 12,000 consumers participated in the web-based study that was conducted in May and June of this year. Seven key factors were measured:  pharmacists, non-pharmacist staff, convenience, medication availability and information, store layout and design, cost competitiveness and remote ordering convenience.

“This recognition is special because it shows just how much our employees care for our customers each and every day,” stated Wegmans CEO Danny Wegman.  “The relationships our pharmacy people build with our customers are truly meaningful.”

In addition to supermarket pharmacies, mass merchandisers and chain drug stores were ranked in separate categories. Wegmans’ score of 865 (out of a possible 1,000) was the highest among all pharmacies in the supermarket category.

Wegmans opened its first pharmacy at its Lyell Avenue store Rochester in 1972.  Today, the company operates pharmacies in all of its stores, with 400 pharmacists and 1,600 pharmacy technicians on staff.

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