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Walgreens furthers reach into North Carolina with acquisition of Kerr Drug

BY Michael Johnsen

DEERFIELD, Ill. — Walgreens on Tuesday announced its acquisition of Kerr Drug, a privately-held regional pharmacy chain in North Carolina, to include both Kerr’s retail drug stores and specialty pharmacy business.  

In fiscal year 2012, Kerr Drug’s retail drug stores and specialty pharmacy business recorded total sales of $381 million.

“The Kerr Drug retail drug stores and specialty pharmacy business are an exceptional addition to the Walgreens family of companies,” stated Walgreens president and CEO Greg Wasson. “We are closely aligned on the important task of expanding the healthcare role that community pharmacists can have with their patients, and we share the common goal of stepping out of the traditional drugstore format to create a new experience for our customers.” 

“Kerr Drug’s strategy and core principles have always been focused on its unique ability to provide patients access to the most comprehensive and convenient health and wellness offering in the industry," noted Anthony Civello, Kerr Drug chairman, president and CEO. "Walgreens is the perfect partner to continue this journey as a patient-oriented company dedicated to expanding the role of the pharmacist as an integral part of health care.” 

Financial terms of the agreement were not disclosed. 

Earlier this year Walgreens and Kerr Drug were named the top pharmacy chains, for a national chain and regional chain respectively, by OutcomesMTM, a medication therapy management delivery system

The acquisition is structured as an asset transaction and includes Kerr Drug’s 76 retail drug stores and its specialty pharmacy business. The acquisition also includes a distribution center. Kerr Drug will retain ownership of its long-term care pharmacy business. 

Walgreens has 200 stores in the North Carolina market. "We anticipate that a significant majority of Kerr Drug stores will remain open," Walgreens spokesman Michael Polzin told DSN. "As with most acquisitions, there will be overlap in some locations, which may result in store closures. I’d anticipate that those decisions will be communicated shortly after the transaction is finalized," he said. 

The transaction is subject to satisfaction of regulatory requirements and other conditions, and is expected to close sometime this year. Walgreens anticipates the transaction will not have a material impact on earnings per share in fiscal year 2014.

Until the acquisition closes, Kerr Drug and Walgreens will continue to operate separately. After closing, the acquired Kerr Drug retail drug stores will continue to operate under their current brand in the near term.

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Merck, Depomed extend diabetes drug license agreement

BY Alaric DeArment

NEWARK, Calif. — Drug maker Depomed has expanded the geographic scope of a license agreement it has with Merck for diabetes drugs, the company said.

The licensing agreement, which the two companies entered in July 2009, gives Merck a non-exclusive license and other rights to certain Depomed patents for extended-release metformin, while Depomed will receive "modest" royalties on net product sales of the drug Janumet XR (sitagliptin; metformin hydrochloride) in countries in which the licensed patents cover the product.

The territory covered by the license agreement is now worldwide, Depomed said.


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Vim & Vigr brings fashion, functionality to line of compression socks

BY Jason Owen

MISSOULA, Mont. — A new line of high-functioning compression socks with a flair for fashion is now available, the sock maker has announced.

Vim & Vigr has introduced an inventive and stylish line of knee-high compression socks that help prevent and reduce spider and varicose veins, inhibit swelling and alleviate leg soreness and heaviness, the company stated. The new line of compression socks uses advanced Gradient Pressure knitting technology to increase circulation of freshly oxygenated blood to help keep legs energeized.

“Our ultimate goal at Vim & Vigr is to help more people experience the benefits of compression socks every day,” said Michelle Huie, founder and president of Vim & Vigr. “Many of us have jobs that require us to sit or stand for long periods of time and this can have serious health and energy implications that affect your quality of life. Vim & Vigr breathes life back into your legs but still allows you to express your own personality.”

According to the company, research shows that excessive hours sitting or standing at a time can be harmful to leg circulation and oxygenation. Vim & Vigr’s debut collection offers socks with a compression level of 15-20 mmHg (millimeter per mercury) with graduated pressure that is tightest at the ankle and becomes less so as it continues up the leg. The socks are specially designed with a contoured leg and heel, as well as a soft toe pocket for added comfort. All of Vim & Vigr’s socks will be listed with the Food and Drug Administration.

Vim & Vigr will roll out 12 sock designs made with wool, nylon and cotton into select retailers as well as available for purchase online through VimVigr.com with a MSRP of $29.95.


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