PHARMACY

Pharmacy co-ops United, Associated announce plans to merge organizations

BY Jim Frederick

PHOENIX Two major pharmacy cooperatives announced plans today to merge, forming a single marketing and purchasing organization with a joint membership of more than 2,000 independent pharmacies.

The combination of Phoenix-based United Drugs and Scottsboro, Ala.-based Associated Pharmacies could streamline operating costs for both organizations, boost their effectiveness and branding capabilities, and give their independent members more buying clout with vendors. The merger could also help those members weather the nation’s worst economic collapse in decades.

In business for more than three decades, United is a pharmacy cooperative with national reach, and provides more than 1,000 independent drug stores with operating expertise, third party contracting and buying services. Associated, formed in 1987, is a member-owned buying cooperative that “provides independent pharmacy owners an opportunity to buy like a chain,” according to a spokesperson, as well as operating and marketing tools and other services.

United CEO Bruce Semingson described the two companies as highly compatible. “API is known for running one of the nation’s most successful cooperative-owned warehouse operations and United Drugs has one of the strongest managed care programs out there,” he said.

United CEO Bruce Semingson described the two companies as highly compatible. “API is known for running one of the nation’s most successful cooperative-owned warehouse operations and United Drugs has one of the strongest managed care programs out there,” he said.

Added Associated CEO Jon Copeland, “Both our companies have long histories of providing a wide array services?and programs as well as being vocal advocates for independent pharmacies. Now, with this strategic move, we’re confident we will become the strongest co-op of independent pharmacies in the nation.”

Contributing to the synergies of the proposed merger is the fact that both?co-operatives are customers of Cardinal Health, both companies noted in a joint statement.

Providing their members approve the merger, as expected, the deal is expected to close in June.

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PHARMACY

Take Care Health Systems opens New Orleans clinic

BY Antoinette Alexander

CONSHOHOCKEN, Pa. Take Care Health Systems, which is owned by Walgreens, has opened a new clinic in the New Orleans area.

The new location makes four Take Care Clinics in that market. In total, the clinic operator has 332 clinics in 35 markets throughout 19 states. 

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Eli Lilly’s chemotherapy drug granted tentative approval by FDA

BY Alaric DeArment

ROCKVILLE, Md. The Food and Drug Administration has given tentative approval to a generic version of Eli Lilly & Co.’s chemotherapy drug Gemzar, agency records show.

The FDA issued the tentative approval Monday to Hospira’s 2 g gemcitabine hydrochloride injection. The drug is used to treat non-small cell lung cancer, pancreatic cancer, ovarian, breast cancer and others. 

Gemzar had worldwide sales of $1.6 billion in 2007, according to Lilly financial data. According to the FDA Orange Book, the drug will lose patent protection next year. 

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