PHARMACY

Walgreens reports sales for October up 6.8 percent

BY Jenna Duncan

DEERFIELD, Ill. Walgreens has reported that its sales for October were up 6.8 percent to $5.16 billion, up from $4.83 billion in October 2007. Same-store sales were up 2 percent, and same-store front-end sales held steady at 0.4 percent, the company said.

Walgreens’ pharmacy sales grew by 6.5 percent with comparable pharmacy sales up 2.8 percent, the company said. Walgreens said that generic drug introductions over the past year negatively affected comparable pharmacy totals by 2.2 percentage points. Prescriptions filled at comparable stores were down slightly, 0.4 percent. The company attributed this decrease to the introduction of Zyrtec as an OTC which has a negative impact of 0.6 percentage points. Overall, pharmacy sales accounted for 66.5 percent of total sales for October, Walgreens said.

The company reported that year-end sales totaled $49.5 billion, a 9.6-percent increase from $45.2 billion at the same time 2007.

Year-to-date sales for the first two months of fiscal 2009 totaled $10 billion, an increase of 8.3 percent from $9.2 billion last year. And same-store sales for the year-to-date fiscal 2009 were up 3.2 percent, the company said.

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FDA approves Treanda for treatment of Hodgkin’s disease

BY Alaric DeArment

FRAZER, Pa. The Food and Drug Administration has approved a drug for treating non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, the drug’s manufacturer announced Monday.

Cephalon announced the agency’s approval of its drug Treanda (bendamustine hydrochloride), an injection for treating indolent B-cell NHL that has progressed up to six months following treatment with Rituxan (rituximab), made by Genentech and Biogen Idec, or a drug regimen that includes Rituxan.

Indolent NHL is a cancer of the lymphatic system that is not curable and often relapses after initial therapy. It affects about 30,000 people in the United States each year, according to the National Cancer Institute.

“Because most patients with indolent non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma eventually become resistant to existing treatments, new treatment options like Treanda are needed to improve patient outcome,” Georgetown University medicine professor and Treanda clinical investigator Bruce Cheson said in a statement.

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PharmaSmart to grow its blood pressure management systems in U.S. market

BY Michael Johnsen

ROCHESTER, N.Y. PharmaSmart International announced last week its intent to penetrate the U.S. market with its blood-pressure management program that has already enjoyed acceptance in the Canadian marketplace, boasting 75 percent penetration.

“Our goal as a company is to change the paradigm in community blood pressure screening,” stated Ashton Maaraba, PharmaSmart’s global vice president of sales and marketing. “We have committed significant resources to ensuring our clients execute at every level, delivering a turnkey program that delivers on the massive blood pressure management opportunity.”

Unlike existing blood pressure programs, which may primarily act as vehicles for third party advertising, PharmaSmart proposes to convert the hypertensive patient into a revenue-generating opportunity, and retain that consumer with an exclusive, pharmacy-branded BP management program, the company stated.

PharmaSmart’s blood pressure management tools and programs allow pharmacies to capitalize on the hypertension opportunity. PharmaSmart’s branded Smart Card offers pharmacists a long-term management tool for their patients that has been found to improve hypertension discovery, consultation, and prescription compliance, all significant challenges in the fight against hypertension, Maaraba noted.   

PharmaSmart’s “pharmacy first/patient first” platform seeks to augment the patient-pharmacist relationship through an education program—both point-of-sale training and continuing education—for pharmacists and pharmacy technicians around hypertension. The program includes PharmaSmart’s patented blood-pressure cuff, patient Smart Card management tool, and a patient web portal.

In Canada, PharmaSmart is present in Rexall, Shoppers Drug Mart, Wal-Mart Canada, Loblaws, Le Group Jean Coutu, Safeway Canada and Calgary Coop, among other pharmacies.

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