PHARMACY

Duane Reade partners with new advertising agency

BY Alaric DeArment

NEW YORK Duane Reade has named its first advertising agency in nearly four years.

The retail pharmacy chain, which operates about 250 stores in the New York area, has partnered with DeVito/Verdi in a deal that will include television, print, outdoor and Internet advertising. The agency will also provide public relations, media planning, guerilla and event marketing, creative development and in-store and collateral work. Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.

“It’s only fitting that the uniquely New York drug store teams up with the essential New York advertising agency to help with the continuing re-branding of our business,” Duane Reade chief merchandising officer Joe Magnacca said. “In addition to being an accomplished ad agency, the team at DeVito/Verdi is comprised of skilled retail strategists who will play a big part in our growth moving forward.”

The deal comes amid an ongoing chain-wide re-branding effort that began late last year.

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PHARMACY

New antidepressant drug now available in the United States

BY Alaric DeArment

BRIDGEWATER, N.J. A new therapy for treating major depressive disorder in adults has become available in the United States, the drug’s manufacturer announced Tuesday.

Sanofi-Aventis U.S. said that Aplenzin (bupropion hydrobromide) extended-release tablets differed from other branded and generic bupropion antidepressants because it provides a unique HBr salt extended-release formulation.

“For patients who show little clinical improvement on lower doses of bupropion, there is a need to take higher doses to treat major depressive disorder,” Duke University Medical Center consulting professor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences Prakash Masand said in a statement. “Aplenzin offers patients and physicians an alternative option which only requires one tablet, once a day at the highest bupropion dose. This provides a simple, convenient option for patients that currently need to take two to three tablets daily.”

The Food and Drug Administration originally approved the drug in April 2008. Sanofi licensed the drug from Biovail Corp. in December and markets it in the United States, including Puerto Rico.

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The ASA, MedicAlert join forces to create 24-hour protection system for patients with autism, related illnesses

BY Alaric DeArment

TURLOCK, Calif. The Autism Society of America and MedicAlert will collaborate to create a 24-hour protection system for people with autism-related illnesses and their families.

The ASA and MedicAlert said Tuesday that they would offer the system through the MedicAlert + Safe and Sound program.

“We are delighted by our new relationship with ASA,” MedicAlert president and CEO Martin Kabat said. “MedicAlert was originally founded to protect children in times of medical emergencies, and we believe this program goes right to the heart of our mission and history.”

Each person enrolled in the program will be given a personalized medical ID and wallet card to provide identification information, details on critical medical conditions and life-threatening allergies for emergency responders.

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