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Investigational malaria treatment “likely” first novel drug from India, Ranbaxy CEO says

BY DSN STAFF

GURGAON, India A drug company based in India and mostly known for generic drugs hopes to transform the treatment of malaria in the developing world with an investigational drug that began phase 3 clinical trials Monday.

Ranbaxy Labs announced the beginning of the trial for an anti-malarial drug that combines arterolane maleate and piperaquine phosphate, conducted in India, Bangladesh and Thailand.

“I am delighted that our anti-malaria drug is entering phase 3 trials,” Ranbaxy chairman and CEO Malvinder Mohan Singh said in a statement. “Ranbaxy has always been at the forefront of research for drugs that are both relevant and affordable.”

Singh said that the drug is “likely” the first novel drug to emerge from India.

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Economy puts Publix under pressure

BY Michael Johnsen

LAKELAND, Fla. The economic forecast continues to look overcast as more and more pressure is placed on corporate profit margins — Publix, one of the Sunshine State’s leading grocers on Friday reported a 6.3% decline in earnings on sales growth of 2.2%.

“The economy continues to affect our results and stock price,” stated Publix CEO Ed Crenshaw — the company’s privately-held stock sold only to Publix employees fell $0.65 to $15.55 with the announcement. “We look forward to an improving economy,” Crenshaw said.

Publix operates 1,005 supermarkets, 720 of which are in Florida, a state that relies heavily on tourism. It’s not so much that fewer tourists equals fewer shopping trips to the local supermarket, as it is fewer tourists equals fewer tourism jobs — jobs that help feed the local economy.

The Florida unemployment rate is currently 9.7%, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics for March, compared to 8.5% nationally. And that unemployment is expected to continue to pressure supermarket sales.

“The industry is at the beginning (of) its sales challenges rather than toward the end,” Pali Research analyst Robert Summers stated in a recent research note. And that means that grocery sales are expected to “drop further and remain negative longer than they did during the last downturn.”

And while all the media attention currently surrounding the possibility of an H1N1 flu pandemic certainly doesn’t bode well for tourism, news reports regarding Florida’s inadequate supply of antivirals may actually prove to be a boost of sorts for Florida pharmacy operators, should that need arise. According to reports, Florida only has 120,000 courses of Tamiflu in its stockpile, compared with the 1.7 million courses the federal government recommended the state purchase to prepare for a pandemic. Federal stockpiles are designed to supply flu medicine to 15% of any given state’s population.

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CVS/pharmacy pays tribute to caregivers with contest

BY Antoinette Alexander

WOONSOCKET, R.I. CVS/pharmacy is paying tribute to caregivers and celebrating the role they play in America by honoring 10 caregivers for their commitment to others as part of its For All the Ways You Care contest.

CVS/pharmacy will present the grand prize winner and nine finalists with more than $100,000. The winning stories were selected from more than 4,200 submissions.

The grand prize winner is Pat Pumphret of Winthrop, Mass. Pumphret, who will receive $25,000, was nominated by a friend with an essay titled, “A Place to Live, A Place to Die,” which recounts Pumphret?s 30-plus years as a provider and foster parent for severely disabled and chronically ill children. For these needy children whose parents are unable to care for them due to such issues as addiction or mental illness, Pumphret offers a place to live and thrive outside of hospitals and nursing homes, ensures they get the care they need from doctors and therapists, and provides the love and warmth of a family.

“Pat’s story is one of courage and heart,” stated Larry Merlo, president of CVS/pharmacy. “Her dedication to these children despite the challenges it may bring to her own life is truly extraordinary. We’re proud to honor Pat and the For All the Ways You Care contest finalists, and hope their stories provide inspiration to caregivers across America.”

In addition, Lisa Kanode, a CVS/pharmacy lead pharmacy technician for Midlothian, Va., was named the winner of the company’s For All the Ways You Care employee contest and will receive $10,000.

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