PHARMACY

Shoppers Drug Mart sees Q1 prescription sales near $1 billion

BY Michael Johnsen

TORONTO Shoppers Drug Mart on Tuesday posted $2 billion in sales, representing an increase of 10.1 percent, for the first quarter ended March 22. Prescription sales increased 8.8 percent in the first quarter to $953.3 million, accounting for 48 percent of sales. Front-end sales grew 11.3 percent to $1 billion.

On a same-store basis, sales increased 6 percent during the quarter with a lift in same-store prescription sales of 5 percent and a comparable-store front store sales increase of 7 percent, or 7.4 percent excluding tobacco, with sales growth benefiting from an earlier Easter this year compared to last year.

First-quarter net earnings increased 18.8 percent to $99.1 million, the company reported.

During the first quarter, 51 drug stores were opened or acquired, eight of which were relocations, and five smaller drug stores were closed. The company also added one home health care store to its network during the quarter. At quarter-end, there were 1,160 stores in the system, comprised of 1,095 drug stores and 65 Shoppers Home Health Care stores. Drug store selling space was approximately 9.9 million square feet at the end of the first quarter, an increase of 16.4 percent compared to a year ago.

During the conference call, Shoppers Drug Mart’s president and chief executive officer Jurgen Schreiber noted that its new cosmetic/pharmacy prototype that was to have opened in June has been postponed, in part because newly signed vendor partners are assisting in creating new displays for the format.

Schreiber was a little close to the vest in discussing the new format with analysts, however, declining to comment on whether or not consumers will know that the new format is a Shoppers Drug Mart-branded format, for example. “As you can expect, we will not disclose any details on that one. It’s truly too confidential; it’s truly too unique to let anything out at this point and time,” he said.

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Amgen, Wyeth revise labeling for Enbrel

BY Drew Buono

PHILADELPHIA and THOUSAND OAKS, Calif. Amgen and Wyeth Pharmaceuticals have informed health care professionals of revisions to prescribing information for their rheumatoid arthritis and psoriasis medication Enbrel.

The revisions include a boxed warning about infections, including serious infections leading to hospitalization or death that have been observed in patients treated with Enbrel.

Infections have included bacterial sepsis and tuberculosis. The adverse reactions section of the label was updated to include information regarding global clinical studies and the rate of occurrence of tuberculosis in patients treated with Enbrel.

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FDA approves Advair for wider use with COPD patients

BY Drew Buono

WASHINGTON The Food and Drug Administration has approved GlaxoSmithKline’s asthma drug Advair to be used more widely to treat patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, according to published reports. The drug had been approved to prevent wheezing and control other symptoms in COPD patients.

GSK’s approval comes the same day as rival AstraZeneca said it also was seeking FDA approval to sell its drug Symbicort for COPD.

COPD, an often-fatal lung condition with no cure, is a major market with more than 12 million Americans suffering from the disease, and another 12 million who are likely not diagnosed, according to the National Institutes of Health.

The FDA’s approval allows GSK to promote its product to COPD patients who experience flare-ups of the disease, which includes emphysema and chronic bronchitis.

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