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Diplomat makes Inc. magazine’s top 5,000 list

BY Alaric DeArment

FLINT, Mich. — Diplomat Specialty Pharmacy has made Inc. magazine’s list of the country’s fastest-growing companies for the third consecutive year, the specialty pharmacy provider said.

Diplomat came in at No. 1,201 in Inc.’s list of the country’s 5,000 fastest-growing companies, having generated $410 million in growth over the past three years. In addition, the company ranked eighth in total revenue among listed companies operating in the healthcare industry and, when combining revenue and growth rates of those companies, second.

"Despite our unprecedented growth over the years, we’ve continued to stay dedicated to our patient-focused model, and achieved a 99% customer satisfaction response from our 2011 patient-satisfaction survey," Diplomat president and CEO Phil Hagerman said. "We could not achieve this without a tremendous staff committed to finding solutions for both patients and our healthcare partners."

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Kantar: Retail comp sales decline on horizon despite 4.9% August gain

BY Michael Johnsen

COLUMBUS, Ohio — Retail same-store sales held steady with a 4.9% gain in August as retailers reported mostly solid back-to-school results at the same time sales at department stores were hurt by the impact of Hurricane Irene and weaker spending plans by shoppers, Kantar Retail reported on Thursday. However, shoppers plan on reducing their spending over the next few months, the company reported.

“Shoppers are clearly moving to curb their spending, although it’s hard to see amid the impact of the hurricane and unavoidable back-to-school spending,” stated Frank Badillo, Kantar senior economist. The percentage of shoppers planning to spend less in the coming month edged higher in August to just above 38% (as measured by a three-month moving average).

While food, drug and mass retailers reported a mostly positive hurricane impact as shoppers prepared in advance of the storm, apparel and traditional department stores, such as TJX and JCPenney, lost sales as stores closed and shoppers stayed home during and after the storm, the company stated.

The sales-weighted composite for the 26 retailers reporting — most of them apparel retailers — was about the same as the 4.8% same-store sales gain last month and better than the 3.1% gain in August of 2010. The calculations no longer include Walmart, however, as that retailer stopped reporting monthly results in April 2009, Kantar noted.

The August results also excluded Neiman Marcus, Walgreens and Hot Topic, which had yet to release results at the time of the report.

In coming months, same-store sales should reflect the weakening trend evident in shopper spending intentions as tracked by Kantar Retail’s "ShopperScape" survey. However, the letup in spending intentions is not as severe as the drop-off in measures of consumer confidence recorded in August, the company noted, and should recover in time for the holidays. A little more than one-third of shoppers plan to spend less on holiday gifts compared with last year, but that’s better than the 43% who planned to spend less in August of 2009. Half of all shoppers plan to spend about the same on holiday gifts compared with last year, and 9% of shoppers plan to spend more this holiday, slightly better than the 7% who planned to spend more in August 2009.

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Dr. Reddy’s, Pfizer settle over Lipitor

BY Alaric DeArment

NEW YORK — Pfizer and Dr. Reddy’s have reached a settlement over the latter’s efforts to launch a generic version of the world’s top-selling drug, according to published reports.

Bloomberg reported that the companies settled a patent-infringement lawsuit concerning Lipitor (atorvastatin) before the U.S. District Court for the District of Delaware. Used to treat high cholesterol, Lipitor has annual sales of more than $7 billion in the United States. Terms of the settlement were not disclosed. Pfizer also has reached settlements with Teva Pharmaceutical Industries and Mylan over their efforts to sell generic versions of Lipitor.

Ranbaxy has long planned to become the first to market a generic version of Lipitor, which it was planning to launch by the end of November. But manufacturing problems that the Food and Drug Administration uncovered at its plants in India could delay the launch and, according to an analyst quoted by Bloomberg, force it to sell its rights to the drug.

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