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Weis Markets launches Nutri-Facts program to augment healthier eating habits

BY Michael Johnsen
SUNBURY, Pa. – Weis Markets on Tuesday announced its new shelf tag program, Nutri-Facts. As part of this program, customers will see brightly-colored icons on pricing tags to help them easily identify the foods that meet their unique health and lifestyle needs.
 
“Weis Markets is committed to helping our customers live well. We can accomplish this goal by providing tools and resources on healthy eating and simplifying the process of finding nutritious foods in our stores,” stated Beth Stark, manager of lifestyle initiatives for Weis Markets. “Our Nutri-Facts program is designed to provide a snapshot of food products so that at a glance, a customer can determine if its nutrition or lifestyle profile fits their individual needs and the needs of their family.”
 
Using U.S. Food and Drug Administration and the United States Department of Agriculture guidelines, the Weis Dietitians developed 13 Nutri-Facts icons that include popular dietary and health identifiers that are in demand by customers, including organic, gluten free, whole grain, carb conscious, heart healthy, vegan, no added sugar, low sodium and vegan. Customers will have to look no further than the product pricing tag on the shelf to see what health and lifestyle attributes are associated the products.
 
The Weis Dietitian team also recently launched its Fresh for You and Superfoods programs. Fresh for You foods are hand-selected by the dietitian team based on nutritional profiles and will be flagged with a sign that provides helpful information on ways to incorporate the food into recipes and meal ideas. The Superfoods program highlights nutrient-rich foods that naturally contain significant amounts of vitamins, minerals and antioxidants. Customers will see signs for colorful superfoods signs throughout the store that offer tips for use.
 
Since 2003, Weis Markets has employed dietitians to provide resources to customers to help them lead a healthy lifestyle. The current team consists of four registered dietitians, two of which are based in Weis stores, that are readily available to answer customers’ food, nutrition and wellness questions.
 
 
 
 
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Pfizer introduces first and only biosimilar monoclonal antibody therapy

BY Michael Johnsen
NEW YORK – The United States Food and Drug Administration on Tuesday approved Celltrion’s Inflectra (biosimilar infliximab) across all eligible indications of the reference product, Remicade (infliximab). Inflectra is now the first and only biosimilar monoclonal antibody (mAb) therapy, and only the second biosimilar, to be approved in the U.S.
 
“The introduction of high-quality, effective biosimilars provides an opportunity to expand access to important medicines,” stated Salomon Azoulay, SVP and chief medical officer, Pfizer Global Established Pharma Business. “As a leading global biologics company with several biosimilar products in our pipeline, we appreciate the significance of this milestone in developing a pathway for biosimilars to come to market in the U.S., and in helping advance their adoption in the healthcare system.”
 
Hospira, now a Pfizer company, entered into an agreement with Celltrion and Celltrion Healthcare in 2009 for several potential biosimilar products, including Inflectra. Pfizer holds exclusive commercialization rights to Inflectra in the U.S. and certain other jurisdictions.
 
Inflectra is a treatment indicated for reducing signs and symptoms in patients with rheumatoid arthritis, adult ulcerative colitis, plaque psoriasis, psoriatic arthritis, ankylosing spondylitis and adult and pediatric Crohn’s disease.
 
The FDA approval was based on the comprehensive data package submitted by Celltrion demonstrating a high degree of similarity between Inflectra and the U.S. reference product, Remicade. The FDA’s decision follows the Feb. 9, 2016 FDA Arthritis Advisory Committee’s recommendation to approve proposed biosimilar infliximab across all eligible indications, by a vote of 21-3.
 
“Our experience in other markets across the globe demonstrates that biosimilars can be a welcome option for patients, physicians and others,” noted Jenny Alltoft, head of global biosimilars, Pfizer. “Pfizer is proud to play a leading role in preparing the U.S. market for biosimilars. We are committed to bringing these important medicines to patients in the U.S. as quickly as possible. While launch timing for Inflectra will ultimately depend on a number of factors such as marketplace dynamics and intellectual property considerations, we are continuing with the preparation of our launch plans for 2016.”
 
 
 
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Beauty, seasonal merchandise drive March sales at Fred’s

BY Gina Acosta

MEMPHIS, Tenn. — Fred’s says beauty, personal care and Easter merchandise drove traffic in March, as the company reported an 11% increase in net sales to $214.4 million.

Fred's same store sales for the month rose 1.8% versus an increase of 1.9% for the year-earlier period. Fred's total sales for the first two months of fiscal 2016 increased 11% to $385.8 million compared with $346.8 million for the same period last year. On a comparable store basis, year-to-date sales increased 1.3% versus an increase of 0.9% for the year-earlier period.

"We are pleased to report that total March sales increased at the high end of our guidance, while comparable stores sales came in near the midrange," said Jerry A. Shore, CEO. "Much of the total increase can be attributed to the April 2015 acquisition of EntrustRx specialty pharmacy. Next month, we begin cycling the acquisition and in May, total sales comparisons will be normalized. Our traffic-driving initiatives for the pharmacy department continue to take hold, and for the second consecutive month, comparable scripts and sales were positive."

Fred's, Inc. and subsidiaries operate 660 discount general merchandise stores and three specialty pharmacy-only locations in 15 states in the southeastern United States. 

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