PHARMACY

J&J must change color of labeling on Duragesic patches to aid safety, FDA says

BY Alaric DeArment

SILVER SPRING, Md. — The Food and Drug Administration is requiring Johnson & Johnson to use long-lasting ink in the labeling and dosage strength of an opioid painkiller patch it markets in order to make it easier to see.

The agency announced that it would require J&J subsidiary Janssen Pharmaceuticals to change the color of the ink on Duragesic (fentanyl) patches. The patches administer the drug fentanyl through the skin, but because of the delivery method, they can cause serious harm or even death to children or pets if they touch a patch that has fallen off the patient. The more prominent coloring will make it easier for patients or caregivers to see if the patches have been improperly applied or fallen off.

The FDA also recently issued an advisory saying that fentanyl patches should be discarded by folding the sticky sides together and then flushing them down the toilet, and that patients regularly check them to make sure they haven’t come loose.

 

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PHARMACY

Bartell sponsors week of health, beauty events

BY Alaric DeArment

SEATTLE — Several Bartell Drugs locations will offer week-long events devoted to health and beauty starting next week, the Seattle-based retail pharmacy chain said.

Bartell, which operates 61 stores in and around Seattle, said health events that include mobile digital mammography screenings offered by Evergreen Health would take place at eight stores, while health clinic testing and screenings would take place at five stores. Screenings include blood glucose testing, meter exchange and education, cholesterol testing, bone density screenings for osteoporosis, blood pressure testing and others.

J.J. Virgin, author of the New York Times bestseller "The Virgin Diet: Drop 7 Foods, Lose 7 Pounds, Just 7 Days" will appear at two of the chain’s Seattle stores.

 

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PHARMACY

Walgreens posts September comp sales gain of 7.4%

BY Michael Johnsen

DEERFIELD, Ill. — Walgreens on Thursday posted September sales of $5.9 billion, an increase of 8% as compared with the same month in fiscal 2013.

Total front-end sales increased 4.1%, while comparable store front-end sales increased 2.9%. Customer traffic in comparable stores decreased 0.8% while basket size increased 3.7%.

Prescriptions filled at comparable stores increased by 9.6% in September and increased 6.7% on a calendar day-shift adjusted basis. This year’s September had one additional Monday and one fewer Saturday compared with September 2012. These calendar shifts positively impacted prescriptions filled at comparable stores by 290 basis points.

Prescriptions filled at comparable stores also were positively impacted by 80 basis points due to more flu shots versus last year and were negatively impacted by 20 basis points due to lower incidence of flu in this year’s September.

September pharmacy sales increased by 10.4%, while comparable store pharmacy sales increased 10.2% percent and increased by a calendar day-shift adjusted 7.3%. Calendar day-shift adjusted comparable store pharmacy sales were negatively impacted by 70 basis points due to generic drug introductions in the last 12 months, and were positively impacted by 50 basis points due to more flu shots versus last year. 

Pharmacy sales accounted for 65% of total sales for the month.

Flu shots administered at pharmacies and clinics season to date were more than 1.9 million versus approximately 1.6 million last year.

Sales in comparable stores increased by 7.4% in September. Calendar day shifts positively impacted total comparable sales by 190 basis points, while generic drug introductions in the last 12 months negatively impacted total comparable sales by 50 basis points.

Walgreens opened 17 stores during September, including eight relocations, and closed one.

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