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King Pharmaceuticals gets FDA approval for Embeda

BY Alaric DeArment

BRISTOL, Tenn. The Food and Drug Administration has approved a prescription painkiller designed to thwart drug diversion.

King Pharmaceuticals announced Thursday the approval of Embeda (morphine sulfate and naltrexone hydrochloride) extended-release capsules, calling it the first FDA-approved, long-acting opioid designed to reduce narcotic effects when tampered with by crushing or chewing.

“Today’s approval of Embeda marks a milestone in pain care, and King is proud to bring this new technology to the U.S. market,” King CEO Brian Markison said in a statement. “King is committed to providing resources and medicines to patients and healthcare professionals to achieve optimal pain control.”

The capsules contain morphine pellets with naltrexone hydrochloride in the middle. When taken as directed, the morphine relieves pain, and the naltrexone hydrochloride passes through the body. If crushed or chewed, however, the naltrexone is released and neutralizes the morphine. King hopes the technology will discourage illegal drug users, though it said there was no evidence that naltrexone reduces the probability that Embeda will be abused, and the clinical significance of its ability to neutralize morphine had not been established.

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Investment group says Spartan’s board election process should change

BY Alaric DeArment

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. A supermarket operating company’s practice for electing members of its board of directors needs to change, an investment group said at the company’s annual meeting and in an accompanying letter.

CtW Investment Group called on the board of Spartan Stores to elect members of its board every year, while also expressing concern over auditor independence and executive pay, urging Spartan’s board to “declassify” the board in time for next year’s shareholder meeting.

“The annual election of directors is a predicate for accountability to Spartan shareholders,” CtW executive director Bill Patterson said at the company’s annual meeting.

Under its current election system, Spartan has a “classified” or “staggered” board, whereby board members are elected for different periods of time depending on their position.

“Classified boards such as Spartan’s are an outdated governance practice that serves to protect entrenched boards and prevent shareholders from holding accountable the directors charged with safe-guarding their investments in the company,” Patterson wrote.

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Former Walmart executive named partner, chief merchandising officer at Blue Ocean Innovative Solutions

BY Michael Johnsen

BENTONVILLE, Ark. Chuck Fehlig was named a partner and chief merchandising officer of Blue Ocean Innovative Solutions, the company announced earlier this month.

Fehlig comes to Blue Ocean by way of Walmart, where he was VP and divisional merchandise manager of OTC merchandise. In 2003, Fehlig was named VP/DMM of the year in Walmart and in 2009 he was honored with the “Outstanding Leadership Award” from the Wal-Mart Health and Wellness Division of Wal-Mart Stores.

Fehlig first joined Walmart as a staff pharmacist and has held several positions in pharmacy operations for the first 18 years of his 27-year career with the mass merchant, including director of professional affairs and divisional operations manager overseeing the operations of more than 850 pharmacies and 10,000 employees.

Fehlig holds a degree in pharmacy from the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences.

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