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BY DSN STAFF

Supplier News—A federal judge in Tacoma, Wash., last month ruled in favor of a pharmacist’s right to “refuse and refer” the dispensing of any prescription for the emergency contraceptive Plan B, effectively overruling a state mandate that pharmacists in Washington not decline to dispense a prescription drug based on moral beliefs unless there was a pharmacist co-worker present who would adjudicate the prescription.

“The defendants [the state of Washington] are enjoined from enforcing [the anti-discrimination provisions of the new ruling enacted July 26] against any pharmacy which, or pharmacist who, refuses to dispense Plan B, but instead immediately refers the patient either to the nearest source of Plan B or to a nearby source for Plan B,” concluded Judge Ronald Leighton of the U.S. District Court in his decision.

“Whether or not Plan B…terminates a pregnancy, to those who believe that life begins at conception, the drug is designed to terminate a life,” the judge wrote. “[The regulations] appear designed to impose a Hobson’s choice for the majority of pharmacists who object to Plan B: dispense a drug that ends a life as defined by their religious teachings, or leave their present positions in the state of Washington.”

The suit was filed by two individual pharmacists and the grocer Ralph’s Thriftway, which operates two supermarkets, one day before the state enacted its regulation this summer. Prior to the adoption of the regulations, Ralph’s Thriftway had been the object of a boycott organized by people protesting the grocer’s refusal to stock Plan B. Both the store and the pharmacy manager subsequently were investigated by the Washington State Board of Pharmacy for allegedly failing to maintain an adequate stock of medicines. The board later initiated an additional investigation in response to allegations that Ralph’s Thriftway violated pharmacy regulations by not stocking Plan B.

The American Pharmacists Association supports a pharmacist’s right to refuse and refer, but recognizing the central role of many pharmacists to the local healthcare system, the association emphasizes that those patients refused a prescription ought to be directed to a pharmacy or pharmacist that will fill that prescription in a timely manner.

GlaxoSmithKline last month launched a campaign supporting its claim that new Breathe Right Snore Relief Solutions lubricate throat tissues to help keep them quiet. The new Snore Relief line is one of three complementary SKUs to GSK’s core line of Breathe Right strips. The wintergreen-flavored thin strips help lubricate the throat to prevent snoring; Snore Relief also comes in a rinse and spray.

“When you’re awake, air flows freely through your breathing passages,” GSK stated. “But at night, nasal passages become dry and vibrate. Breathe Right Snore Relief Solutions lubricate throat tissues to help keep them quiet.”

Enzymatic Therapy recently announced the launch of its ActiFruit line with Cran-Max Cranberry Supplements, including both a one-perday soft chew and 30-count capsules.

“ActiFruit with Cran-Max delivers the ultra-concentrated power of cranberries in an easy, one-per-day dose,” stated Matt Schueller, senior vice president of marketing for Enzymatic Therapy. “The ActiFruit chews are a breakthrough product. It’s rare to find a supplement that’s really effective but tastes like a delicious fruit treat.”

“Cran-Max is the only cranberry supplement supported by two published studies and is the first one-per-day supplement on the market,” stated Dean Mosca, president of Proprietary Nutritionals, the company that markets Cran-Max.

According to the company, one ActiFruit soft chew equals the antioxidant power of seven glasses of cranberry juice cocktail. The supplement supports bladder and urinary tract health and fights free radicals with beneficial antioxidants.

Improvita Health Products last month announced the introduction of Fasprin, an 81 mg aspirin tablet that dissolves rapidly in the mouth instead of in the stomach.

Fasprin’s no-swallow aspirin delivery method reduces irritation to the gastrointestinal tract by quickly dissolving in the mouth, which allows the aspirin to enter the blood stream in just three to five minutes—up to 10 times faster than conventional aspirin that typically is absorbed through the stomach, the company stated.

Fasprin comes in a 30-tablet package for a suggested retail price of $5.99.

Natrol last month merged with Plethico Pharmaceuticals Limited of India in a stock-purchase deal worth approximately $80.8 million.

“We are pleased to announce this transaction, which culminates a process initiated and directed by our board of directors to maximize value for our stockholders,” stated Wayne Bos, Natrol president and chief executive officer. “We have gained a solid reputation in our market niches and believe the merger with Plethico will also be a win-win for our customers and employees.”

PacificHealth Laboratories last month reported a net loss of $433,000, which included a $439,000 write-off of Satiatrim inventory because of soon-to-expire shelf dates.

“Satiatrim has gotten off to a slower start than we anticipated, which has resulted in a write down of all finished product inventory due to freshness dates expiring at year end,” stated Robert Portman, PacificHealth president and chief executive officer. “On the positive side, we experienced a significant increase in sales in October as a result of our print and radio advertising. Of particular note is that consumer repurchase is 16 percent, and our new Web site, which we redesigned in the second quarter, has a very high sales conversion percentage for new visitors. The advertising programs, although limited in scope, demonstrate that if we drive more people to the Web site, they will purchase the product.”

To help support expansion of Santiatrim at retail, PacificHealth recently signed Dr. Jonny Bowden, an expert in weight loss who appears frequently in media and is the author of numerous books on the subject, as a brand spokesman.

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Stick Me Designs adds style to glucose meter bags

BY Michael Johnsen

VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. Stick Me Designs, an emerging accessory designer of diabetes glucose carrying cases for women, teens and children, announced the launch of their glucose meter bag collection Friday.

“While the medical supply industry is busy working on adding color, convenience and function to their meters, they’ve forgotten the most important aspect of their portability—the carrying case,” stated Rickina Velte, founder of Stick Me Designs. “We’ve taken on the task of infusing design, style and function that adds personality to an everyday necessity for people with diabetes.”

The new diabetes bags offer choices in color, fabrics, design and functionality.

The first collection features four contemporary designs created for the One Touch Ultra glucose meter and other more traditional larger-style testing meters. The bags have elastic placeholders for lancet devices, testing strips and glucose tabs or candy. They also feature interior open and zippered pockets for such everyday essentials as credit cards, identification, money, sanitizing wipes and an outside zipper pocket for other essentials.

Stick Me Designs’ introductory collection also features hand-selected faux suedes, designer upholsteries and cotton fabrics in retro and contemporary styles and colors.

Suggested retail prices will range from $32.99 to $45.99, the company reported.

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Continucare opens first clinic at Navarro

BY Antoinette Alexander

MIAMI Continucare Corp. has announced the opening of its first ValuClinic in-store health clinic within a Navarro Discount Pharmacy in Hollywood, Fla.

Similar to many other retail-based clinic models, the walk-in clinic will treat acute conditions and will be staffed by nurse practitioners and physician assistants.

According to Gabe Navarro, chief executive officer of the Miami-based pharmacy chain, Continucare was on the verge of opening a few locations in the recently acquired Sedano’s stores, so Navarro proceeded with the openings.

In October, it was announced that Navarro Discount Pharmacy would merge its operations with Sedano’s Pharmacy & Discount Store. Sedano’s is a Hispanic drug retail company with 11 pharmacies in the southern Florida market. Combined, the entity has more than 30 stores with annual revenues of more than $350 million. All of the stores are operating under the Navarro banner in the southern Florida market.

According to Navarro, plans call for Continucare to have three ValuClinics open in Navarro stores by the end of the year. It expects to have a total of 15 clinics in operation in 2008.

In late 2006 it was announced that Navarro had partnered with Express Clinics to introduce in-store health clinics to the southern Florida market; however, it is possible that partnership will come to an end.

“It is uncertain whether Express Clinics will continue to operate clinics in our stores,” Navarro told Drug Store News. “[We] should know more in the coming weeks.”

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