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Rite Aid announces offering of senior secured notes

BY Michael Johnsen

CAMP HILL, Pa. Rite Aid on Monday began preparations to execute against its fiscal plans that will satisfy the chain’s next significant debt hurdle in September 2010 — the $1.8 billion senior secured revolving credit facility.

The chain intends to offer $400 million aggregate principal amount of senior secured notes due 2016. The notes will be unsecured, unsubordinated obligations of Rite Aid and will be guaranteed by substantially all of Rite Aid’s subsidiaries. The guarantees will be secured on a senior lien basis.

The offering is part of the previously announced plan to refinance Rite Aid’s September 2010 debt maturities. Rite Aid said it has obtained the amendments to its senior secured credit facility necessary to complete the refinancing.

Also included in the refinancing is a new $525 million term loan due June 2015, $125 million more than previously announced, under Rite Aid’s senior secured credit facility. Proceeds from the new term loan, which is scheduled to close on June 10, 2009, will be used to refinance the $145 million tranche one-term loan due September 2010 under Rite Aid’s senior secured credit facility, repay and cancel a portion of the commitments outstanding under Rite Aid’s existing $1.75 billion senior secured revolving credit facility also due September 2010, and for fees and other expenses.

As part of the refinancing, Rite Aid is also seeking to enter a new $1 billion senior secured revolving credit facility due September 2012, for which it has obtained $900 million in commitments. Rite Aid intends to use the net proceeds from the offering of the notes, together with borrowings under the new revolver, to repay the remaining amounts outstanding and replace Rite Aid’s existing revolving credit facility and to fund related fees and expenses.

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Calif. Senate passes pseudoephedrine bill, receives opposition from CHPA

BY Drug Store News Team

NEW YORK Attempting to curtail methamphetamine production by more or less eliminating the precursor ingredient pseudoephedrine from the market is kind of like throwing out the baby with the bathwater. PSE is a legitimate self-care option that is, according to general consensus, more effective than the other cough-cold decongestant on the market — phenylephrine. And restricting access to that self-care option hurts legitimate consumers more than it does meth cooks. But more on that in a second.

 

The fact of the matter is it may be a mistake to force consumers into a doctor’s office for more-effective cold-symptom relief, especially at a time when physician access is already an issue and the cost surrounding that physician access — including the office visit and the prescription-drug cost, not to mention the time — is a top concern among consumers.

 

 

The reality of the matter is that the 36.8 million California residents, who comprise 12.1% of the U.S. population and make up approximately 11.7% of national retail sales, may just simply buy less PSE. At best that means the average cold sufferer will suffer slightly more from their symptoms. At worst, it means that suffering will translate into more sick days utilized and lower productivity statewide.

 

 

Another significant consequence is the cost that would be borne by retailers and manufacturers, both in lost PSE sales and an added cost in detailing doctors around a decongestant that’s been available OTC for quite some time.

 

 

So here’s the kicker — further restricting access to PSE by reverse switching it to prescription-only status may not have any greater impact on the production, sale or abuse of meth than the Combat Methamphetamine Epidemic Act of 2005. To be sure, CMEA did have a significant impact — the number of meth-related lab seizures in the Southwest region plummeted from 1,178 in 2004 to 155 last year, citing National System Seizure data through Nov. 4. While lab seizures were down, meth use remained constant — meth-addicts just sourced their drug of choice from somewhere else.

 

 

Mexico had become that primary source of meth to U.S. users through mid-2008, which is about the time that country began cracking down on the distribution of the meth precursor PSE. So now the practice of “smurfing,” buying the legal limit in PSE  across adjacent pharmacies, is again becoming prevalent in Southwest states like California. And for that, there is already a solution that would maintain OTC access to legitimate cold sufferers — the electronic logbook.

 

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Select Jewel-Osco pharmacies to offer special services to support hospice care

BY DSN STAFF

NEW YORK The news that Supervalu’s Jewel-Osco pharmacies have signed a contract with Passages Hospice to expedite medications and streamline care is important because it is yet another clear indicator that retail pharmacy is expanding its role in today’s U.S. healthcare system.

This contract allows nursing staff to pick up medications and/ or supplies at the Jewel-Osco pharmacy close to the Passages Hospice office in Elgin, Ill., or other locations, and then dispense to Passages’ patients statewide. Also, family members can go to any Jewel-Osco, identify themselves as a Passages Hospice client, select the medical supplies they need and Passages covers the cost.

Previously, the ordering of medications, processing payments, along with pick-up and delivery were inefficient and time-consuming, and often required multiple phone calls and repetitive paperwork.

There’s no doubt that the landscape of retail pharmacy is changing in light of the nation’s overburdened healthcare system and its battle with rising costs and patients’ lack of access to care.

For example, CVS Caremark now defines itself as a pharmacy healthcare service company and is leveraging its immense prescription database and its robust network of retail-based clinics to help keep Americans healthy and drive down costs for patients, employers and payers.

Meanwhile, Walgreens is expanding its presence in hospital pharmacy and its number of locations now stand at nearly 100, and, like CVS, is also leveraging its network of retail-based clinics and worksite pharmacies to enhance access to care, as well as its growing presence in specialty pharmacy, mail order and home infusion.

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