GPhA praises FDA for roundtable talks discussing affordable biogenerics
ARLINGTON, Va. The Generic Pharmaceutical Association praised a Federal Trade Commission’s roundtable that included a discussion about biogenerics in a statement Friday.
“The mere fact that the FTC is conducting this roundtable demonstrates the growing momentum behind ensuring that consumers have access to safe and affordable biogenerics sooner rather than later,” GPhA president and chief executive Kathleen Jaeger said. “As our elected officials grapple with issues like market exclusivity and patent resolution measures, they must do so recognizing that competition will unleash innovation, while at the same time assuring that affordable, lifesaving medicines are available for patients in need.”
The organization, which represents manufacturers of generic drugs, has pushed hard for a regulatory pathway to allow the approval of generic biologic drugs.
NCPA moves to encourage more retailers to cease carrying tobacco products
ALEXANDRIA, Va. A professional organization representing community pharmacists is urging retail pharmacies not to sell tobacco products.
The National Community Pharmacists Association’s council has approved a resolution asking members to refrain from selling the products, in recognition of the American Cancer Society’s Great American Smokeout, on Thursday.
“Community pharmacies are renowned for helping their patients maintain good health, and the use of tobacco products is an unhealthy and potentially deadly habit,” NCPA chief executive and executive vice president Bruce Roberts said in a statement Wednesday. “While NCPA recognizes the need for these small business pharmacy owners to make autonomous decisions regarding the stocking of tobacco products, as healthcare providers in their communities, we encourage them to consider offering healthier alternatives to their patients.”
San Francisco’s board of supervisors approved a citywide ban on tobacco sales at retail pharmacies earlier this year, though Walgreens has challenged the ban in court. Boston is considering a similar ban.
Fitch predicts sales down for holiday season
NEW YORK Fitch Ratings on Wednesday issued a pretty dismal outlook for the 2008 holiday season, suggesting that this year “could be the weakest season over the past two decades.”
The outlook is not as bad for drug retailers, as compared to specialty apparel and electronic retailers, however. The drug channel is expected to benefit from a mainly non-discretionary merchandise offering. “Given the significant pace of merger and acquisition activity over the past few years, both CVS Caremark and Rite Aid will continue to focus on integrating acquired units and leveraging their increased scale and breadth of services,” the firm said.
“There is a lack of large scale acquisition opportunities in the drug retail sector and therefore share gains will increasingly depend on generating above average organic growth, store closings or share losses by weaker independents and regional chains, and smaller market fill-in acquisitions and prescription file buys. Fitch expects drug retailers to further develop their multi-channel distribution strategies in areas such as pharmacy benefit management and specialty pharmacy where merger and acquisition activity could continue,” the company stated.
In addition, enhanced service offerings such as additional in-store clinics will help these retailers win share from other healthcare venues, the firm noted. “CVS Caremark is already well-positioned with leading market shares in all prescription distribution channels … and Fitch expects CVS Caremark to continue to drive share gains and leverage its integrated platform, generating incremental revenue longer term. However, industry participants could experience slowing top line growth if prescription volumes decline. In addition, profit margins could be pressured by weakness in front-end categories and potential changes in pharmacy reimbursement rates although an offset will be the growth in higher margin generics.”
Overall, real retail sales turned negative in the back-to-school period for the first time since 2001 and are expected to remain negative for the balance of 2008. This is particularly significant for the department stores as well as specialty apparel and electronic retailers as the fourth quarter represents about 30 percent of sales and up to 50 percent or more of operating earnings for these companies. Promotional activity will be substantial and broad based to drive customer traffic and clear excess inventory.
For 2009, Fitch expects that these trends will continue as consumers curtail discretionary spending and look to maximize value. Comparable store sales growth for operators selling clothing, home related goods, and other discretionary categories is expected to continue to be negative while those companies that have built a strong value perception and have strong private and exclusive brand offerings will outperform their peers. While the weak sales will be geographically broad based, sales pressure will be more acute in those markets most impacted by housing and job-related weakness. Similar to the 2008 holiday season, promotional activity is likely to be prevalent as retailers look to stimulate demand and clear overstocks.
The growth in personal consumption expenditures is projected to be down 1.6 percent in 2009 and the rate of growth is expected to remain below trend into 2010.
“Value oriented offerings will be the focal point as retailers try to capture more share of the consumer’s shrinking wallet,” Fitch said. Key beneficiaries of this shift in consumer behavior will be the discount formats, particularly those selling food such as Walmart and Costco.