PHARMACY

Ranbaxy will not merge with Nippon Chemiphar

BY Alaric DeArment

GURGAON, India Indian generic drug maker Ranbaxy Labs has dissolved its joint venture with Japan’s Nippon Chemiphar. The dissolution gives Nippon Chemiphar full ownership of the venture, Nihon Pharmaceutical Industry Co.

The two companies had decided that it would serve their respective interests to develop their generic businesses independently, though Ranbaxy will continue to manufacture generic drugs for Nippon Chemiphar at its plants in India.

Japan is the world’s second largest pharmaceutical market and has been gradually opening up to generic drugs. In October, Sandoz launched Japan’s first biosimilar, a follow-on of Pfizer’s human growth hormone Genotropin (somatropin) already marketed in the United States, the European Union and Australia under the name Omnitrope.

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Walgreens expands H1N1 flu shots to more than 100 Florida pharmacies

BY Jim Frederick

DEERFIELD, Ill. Accelerating its rollout of a large-scale immunization effort, Walgreens said Monday it has begun offering both H1N1 injectable and nasal vaccines at more than 100 pharmacies in Florida.

Those stores are located in Orange, Seminole, Osceola, Sumter and Marion counties. Take Care Clinics at Walgreens stores in the Orlando area also are now offering H1N1 vaccinations to patients ages 2 years and older.

The move comes just days after the 7,147-store drug chain rolled its flu shot program into Louisiana, and it brings to 31 the number of states where Walgreens now offers immunizations for the virus. Walgreens said it would offer H1N1 vaccinations “in additional counties throughout central Florida in the coming weeks as supply becomes available.

“Walgreens and Take Care Health Systems are working closely with public health officials to serve as a state-wide distribution partner for the H1N1 vaccine and a community resource for information on H1N1 immunization,” announced company spokesman Jim Cohn.

While supplies last, the chain is offering vaccinations on a walk-in basis whenever an immunizing pharmacist is on-staff, for a fee of $18. Shots are also available during scheduled H1N1 clinics. Walgreens pharmacists in Florida can immunize those ages 18 years and older, and nurses attending select clinics at Walgreens stores can provide H1N1 immunizations to patients as young as two years old.

Local health departments throughout central Florida recently broadened recommendations on who should get an H1N1 vaccination to include everyone over the age of six months. With priority group restrictions eased, the chain is making the vaccine available to all residents who meet state age requirements in its participating Walgreens stores in Florida.

“We’re proud to partner with public health officials in central Florida to provide convenient, affordable access to H1N1 vaccinations,” said Marlin Hutchens, Walgreens Florida market VP.

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Bancroft steps in as Bristol-Myers Squibb’s acting CFO

BY Alaric DeArment

NEW YORK The former VP finance for Bristol-Myers Squibb Co.’s global biopharmaceutical business has been appointed as the company’s acting CFO, Bristol announced Monday.

Charles Bancroft will assume the position on Jan. 1 and continue to report to president and COO Lamberto Andreotti, following the planned departure of CFO and EVP Jean-Marc Huet at the end of this year.

“Jean-Marc has indicated to me his desire to return to Europe, and we wish him every success,” Bristol chairman and CEO James Cornelius said in a statement. “The board of directors and I are grateful to Jean-Marc for his strategic work in rapidly and successfully solidifying our balance sheet, his focus on increasing our cash position to nearly $10 billion through a series of important transactions and his leadership of continuous improvement initiatives, which have greatly accelerated our biopharma transformation.”

Bancroft began working for Bristol in 1984 and has served in various finance positions with the company, including in other countries.

“Charlie has a wide range of technical and operational finance experiences, including strong financial stewardship, business partnering and leadership capabilities which will serve him well in his new role,” Cornelius said. “We have a strong finance team who will maintain our focus on delivering shareholder value.”

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