PHARMACY

Merck, SurModics end collaboration agreement

BY Alaric DeArment

EDEN PRAIRIE, Minn. Merck will discontinue the license and research collaboration agreement with SurModics that it signed last June, SurModics said Wednesday.

SurModics, which makes surface modification and drug-delivery technologies, said it had received notification from Merck about the discontinuance of the agreement. Merck’s decision requires the drug maker to pay $9 million to SurModics, in addition to the payments SurModics received under the agreement.

Merck made the decision after a review of its business and product development portfolio, not on the basis of any safety or efficacy concerns about SurModics’ I-vation TA drug-delivery system.

“We understand and respect that our partners must undertake strategic reviews which on occasion result in a change of focus or even the discontinuation of projects,” SurModics president and chief executive officer Bruce Barclay said in a statement. “Merck has been an exceptional partner, and we have a great deal of respect for their development capabilities and highly skilled personnel.”

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PHARMACY

Save Mart guarantees prescription filling in 19 minutes or less

BY Adam Kraemer

MODESTO, Calif. In an effort to provide faster service, Save Mart Supermarkets has announced that its Save Mart and Lucky banners will guarantee an order of up to three prescriptions filled within 19 minutes.

Customers whose prescriptions take longer than 19 minutes to fill will receive Save Mart’s offer of dinner and a movie: a $10 store gift card and a free one-night rental from redbox. “Every pharmacy needs to fill every prescription accurately,” said Michele Snider, senior director of pharmacy at Save Mart Supermarkets. “Our pharmacies already provide excellent customer service, and now our 19-Minute Promise will ensure that we also deliver prescriptions quickly.”

Save Mart Supermarkets operates 116 pharmacies in 250 stores in Northern California and Northern Nevada.

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Study finds home delivery of prescriptions increases generics sales

BY Alaric DeArment

NEW YORK Patients are more likely to use generic drugs if they get them from home delivery pharmacies rather than retail pharmacies, according to a study by pharmacy benefit manager Express Scripts, which operates a home delivery service.

The study found that patients using Sanofi-Aventis’ Ambien (zolpidem) or a generic version of the drug were 34 percent more likely to pick the generic version if they received it by home delivery.

“Financial incentives are important but not enough to realize the full money-saving potential of therapeutically equivalent generics,” study author Emily Cox said.

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