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Sagent launches drug for apnea of prematurity in infants

BY Alaric DeArment

SCHAUMBURG, Ill. — Sagent Pharmaceuticals has launched a drug used to treat apnea of prematurity in infants, the drug maker said Wednesday.

Sagent announced the launch of caffeine citrate injection and caffeine citrate oral solution, used to treat apnea of prematurity in infants between 28 and less than 33 weeks gestational age.

The market for the drug was worth about $28.5 million during the 12-month period ended in July, according to IMS Health. The drug features Sagent’s PreventIV Measures packaging and labeling, which are designed to reduce medication errors.


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Symphony Health Solutions announces new executive appointments

BY Allison Cerra

HORSHAM, Pa. — A subsidiary of strategic equity firm Symphony Technology Group has added two members to its executive team.

Symphony Health Solutions announced that Don Otterbein will serve as SVP marketing and product management, and Jeff Cottle will serve as SVP and chief people officer. Otterbein most recently served as VP life sciences at Cognizant Technology Solutions and held several positions at IMS Health; while Cottle, who will be in charge of human resources, worked as an HR executive at SunGard. Both are based in Horsham, Pa.

"Don and Jeff are both seasoned professionals with excellent relevance for our journey and our opportunities ahead with Symphony Health Solutions," Symphony Technology Group CEO Romesh Wadhwani said. "We are bringing together complementary insight capabilities and organizations with a goal of establishing a customer centric leader for our industry propelled by strong innovation. Don brings deep industry knowledge of the pharmaceutical and health informatics industry and a highly successful track record running product development and business operations functions for technology and information services companies. Jeff comes to us as a seasoned HR executive and change agent well suited to help us bring these capabilities together, as well as drive a strong organizational strategy and talent development."

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Walgreens registers nearly $5.5 billion in September sales, down 7.8%

BY Allison Cerra

DEERFIELD, Ill. — Walgreens on Wednesday posted a 7.8% decline in its September sales to nearly $5.5 billion, compared with $5.9 billion for the same month in fiscal 2012.

Prescriptions filled at comparable stores decreased by 10.3% in September and by a day-fall adjusted 6.8%. Last month — which had one additional Saturday and Sunday and one fewer Thursday and Friday, compared with September 2011 — negatively impacted prescriptions filled in comparable stores by 3.5 percentage points. Prescriptions filled at comparable stores also were negatively impacted by 0.4 percentage point due to fewer flu shots versus last year, but were positively impacted by 0.1 percentage point due to the higher incidence of flu in September 2012.

September pharmacy sales decreased 12.3%, while comparable-store pharmacy sales decreased 16.1%. Calendar day shifts negatively impacted pharmacy sales in comparable stores by 3.5 percentage points. Comparable-store pharmacy sales were negatively impacted by 8.4 percentage points due to generic drug introductions in the last 12 months. Pharmacy sales accounted for 63.7% of total sales for the month.

Total front-end sales decreased 0.4%, compared with the year-ago period, while comparable-store front-end sales decreased 1.5%. Customer traffic in comparable stores decreased 2.3% while basket size increased 0.8%.

Sales in comparable stores decreased by 11.1% in September. Calendar day shifts negatively impacted total comparable sales by 2.2 percentage points, while generic drug introductions in the last 12 months negatively impacted total comparable sales by 5.3 percentage points.

Walgreens also highlighted the launch of its Balance Rewards loyalty program, which debuted Sept. 16 and recorded nearly 13 million registrations during the month.

Calendar year-to-date sales were nearly $52 billion, a decrease of 3.8% from about $54 billion in 2011. Walgreens fiscal year began Sept. 1, so fiscal year-to-date sales are the same as the month’s sales.

Walgreens opened 15 stores during September, including two relocations.

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