HEALTH

Rite Aid posts 1.8% increase in January comp sales despite tough flu comparisons

BY Michael Johnsen

CAMP HILL, Pa. — Rite Aid’s January same-store sales increased 1.8%, beating out an analyst projection of a 0.5% increase in overall comparable-store sales. Total drug store sales for the four weeks ended Jan. 25 increased 1.5% to $1.9 billion.

January front-end same-store sales decreased 1.3%, of which 1.4% was attributable to a decrease in sales of flu-related over-the-counter products. Pharmacy same-store sales, which included an approximate 124 basis points negative impact from new generic introductions, increased 3.2%. 

Prescription count at comparable stores decreased 2.2% over the prior-year period, of which 2.4% is attributable to a decrease in flu-related prescriptions and flu shots.

Prescription sales accounted for 69.7% of drug store sales, and third party prescription sales represented 96.7% of pharmacy sales.

Same store sales for the 47-week period ended Jan. 25, 2014 increased 0.6 percent over the prior-year period. Front-end same store-sales were flat compared to the prior-year period while pharmacy same-store sales increased 0.9%. Prescription count at comparable stores decreased 0.2% over the prior-year period.

Total drug store sales for the 47 week period increased 0.3% with sales of $22.9 billion. Prescription sales represented 67.7% of total drug store sales, and third party prescription sales represented 97% of pharmacy sales.

 

 

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Omron launches upgraded TENS unit

BY Michael Johnsen

LAKE FOREST, Ill. — Omron Healthcare on Tuesday announced the release of its new Pain Relief Pro electroTHERAPY unit. Its versatility delivers more settings and more power for more relief with 10 power levels and eight pre-set modes.

Electrotherapy TENS units are a prescription-free pain relief option recommended by professionals and favored by a growing number of acute and chronic pain sufferers. TENS, which stands for Transcutaneous Electrical Nerve Stimulation, uses gentle pulses to stimulate nearby nerves and is thought to scramble pain messages to the brain, stimulate the production of endorphins (the body’s natural pain reliever) and improve blood circulation.

“We developed the new Pain Relief Pro with our customers in mind. They wanted more options for every day pain management. The result is a small but powerful device that’s simple to use and easily customized for quick relief,” said Maureen Perou, senior product manager, Omron Healthcare. “With an intuitive design that has more pain modes, power levels of intensity and now a massage feature, this smartphone sized unit can be the difference between staying home in bed or getting up and getting out of the house.”

The new Pain Relief Pro includes five pre-set pain modes (arm, lower back, leg, foot and joint) and three massage modes (tap, knead, rub) to target the most common problem spots. Ten power levels of intensity allow users to create a personalized experience.

The Pain Relief Pro will be selling for a suggested retail price of $69.99. 

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FDA advisory panel to consider OTC status of NSAIDs

BY Michael Johnsen

SILVER SPRING, Md. — A pair of Food and Drug Administration advisory committees will be meeting Feb. 10 to talk about heart risks associated with use of NSAIDs and whether or not Bayer’s Aleve (naproxen) carries a lower risk profile than other NSAIDs. The FDA is also considering potentially revoking OTC status of certain nonprescription NSAIDS, according to published reports

However, the lower doses of OTC pain relievers relative to prescription-only and the short duration those pain relievers are supposed to be used to alleviate acute pain could be factors in favor of keeping ibuprofen, ketoprofen and naproxen as nonprescription pain relief options.

In addition, FDA is asking advisers to consider whether an ongoing safety study of Pfizer’s Celebrex as compared to ibuprofen and naproxen should continue as naproxen is seen as safer. 

The labeling for non‐prescription NSAIDs was revised in 2005 to include more specific information about potential cardiovascular and GI risks following the recalls of cox-2 inhibitors Vioxx and Bextra.

Three NSAIDs are approved in the U.S. for over-the-counter use: ibuprofen at doses up to 1,200mg/day, ketoprofen at doses up to 75 mg/day and naproxen at doses up to 660 mg/day.

 

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