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Rite Aid pharmacists help Medicare Part D patients find prescription drug programs

BY Alaric DeArment

CAMP HILL, Pa. — Rite Aid said its pharmacists will be ready to help patients and caregivers choose the prescription drug plan that works best for them as 2012 Medicare Part D open enrollment begins Saturday.

Open enrollment is beginning a month earlier than in previous years so that Medicare administrators can process plan choices before the new year, according to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services.

"Rite Aid pharmacists are trusted advisers to give Medicare patients and their caregivers the latest estimated plan costs based on their personal prescription needs," Rite Aid EVP pharmacy Robert Thompson said. "The role of our pharmacists as trusted advisers is tidal so that Rite Aid remains a destination for Medicare patients all year long."


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Q2 results make 99 Cents Only an attractive buy

BY Gail Hoffer

CITY OF COMMERCE, Calif. — The investment group that agreed to buy 99 Cents Only Stores for $1.6 billion must be pleased with the discounter’s second-quarter results.

99 Cents Only Stores reported total sales of $363 million for the second quarter, an increase of 8.8% over total sales of $333.6 million for the same quarter last year. Same-store sales for the quarter were up 6.7%. The number of same-store-sales transactions increased 4.7% and the average transaction size increased to $9.62 from $9.44, the company reported.

Eric Schiffer, CEO, commented, "We are pleased to report that we achieved 6.7% same-store sales growth in the second quarter, which was above our expected range of low single digit comparable sales. We believe these results underscore the strength of our business model. We have now raised our comparable sales expectations for the full year to mid-single digits."

During the second quarter of fiscal 2012, the company opened two stores in Southern California and one in Nevada. The gross and saleable retail square footage at the end of the second quarter each increased 3% over last year to 6.11 million and 4.8 million, respectively, based on 288 stores.

99 Cents Only Stores said in an earlier announcement that it has agreed to be acquired by a group of investors including its founding family, Ares Management and Canadian Pension Plan Investment Board for $1.6 billion in cash.

The announcement ends a months-long sales process, which started with a takeover offer from Leonard Green & Partners in March.

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FDA approves treatment for iron overload

BY Alaric DeArment

SILVER SPRING, Md. — The Food and Drug Adminsitration has approved a drug made by ApoPharma for a complication resulting from treatments for a genetic condition that causes anemia, the agency said Friday.

The FDA announced the approval of Ferriprox (deferiprone), used to treat patients with iron overload due to blood transfusions for thalassemia, a blood disorder. Patients with the disease have excess iron in their bodies because of the frequent blood transfusions they must receive that can lead to iron overload, a condition that can be fatal.

The standard treatment for iron overload is chelation therapy, which uses chemical agents to remove heavy metals from the body. Ferriprox, which the agency said is the first new approved treatment for the disorder since 2005, is intended for use when chelation therapy is inadequate.

 


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