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Supervalu discontinues online grocery business

BY Michael Johnsen

EDEN PRAIRIE, Minn. Supervalu has discontinued its online grocery business in all markets, according to reports published last week.

The decision impacts its online grocery delivery service for Albertsons.com and Acmemarkets.com.

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FDA warns drug makers about posting ads on search engines

BY DSN STAFF

A lot of news has been coming from the Food and Drug Administration lately. And that’s almost never good news for the pharmaceutical business.

 

The FDA recently has taken a number of regulatory actions against drug companies on matters ranging from marketing of unapproved drugs, to pulling unsafe drugs from the market, to drug advertising.

 

 

In one recent case, the agency issued a warning to pharmaceutical companies about ads on Web search engines that it deemed misleading and misbranded because they allegedly did not properly link information about the drugs’ efficacy with risks to safety.

 

 

In another, the FDA ordered nine drug makers to stop manufacturing and distributing unapproved opioid drugs, many of which have been on the market since decades before current drug regulations were adopted.

 

 

And on Wednesday, the agency and Genetench announced that the psoriasis drug Raptiva (efalizumab) would be pulled from the market by June 8 over concerns that emerged in February that its use could lead patients to develop progressive multifocal leukoencephalopathy, a deadly viral infection of the brain. European regulators removed it from the market there as soon as the concerns arose.

 

 

With the withdrawal of Raptiva, which already happened in Europe in February, Genentech – recently acquired by Roche – will lose a drug that generated $108 million in sales last year, according to Genentech financial data. Companies like Boehringer Ingelheim and Mallinckrodt can’t continue making or marketing certain opiate-based painkillers until they get FDA approval, causing them to lose sources of income as well. And the FDA’s requirement that such companies as Pfizer, Eli Lilly & Co., Johnson & Johnson and Cephalon take down the ads in question, means fewer patients will be asking their doctors about what the companies’ drugs can do for them.

 

 

Overall, an increasingly assertive FDA could mean a decrease in top-line pharmacy sales growth as the agency subjects drugs to more scrutiny before they reach the counter, or even long after they’ve reached it.

 

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ITC finds patent of cat litter products valid, enforceable

BY Allison Cerra

MIRAMAR, Fla. A home appliances manufacturer and its subsidiary announced that the U.S. International Trade Commission has determined that two other companies infringed its patent.

The ITC unanimously determined that cat litter boxes and accessories being imported into the United States by Lucky Litter LLC of Chicago, OurPet’s Co. of Fairport Harbor, Ohio, infringe the LitterMaid patent developed by Salton Inc. and its subsidiary, Applica Home Products.

The infringement findings cover Lucky Litter self-cleaning litter box products sold under the “ScoopFree” brand name, ScoopFree litter cartridges, and OurPet’s Co. self-cleaning litter box products sold under the “SmartScoop” brand name. In addition to finding that the LitterMaid patent was infringed, the ITC found that the patent is valid and enforceable.

The Commission has issued an exclusion order to stop further importation of infringing products into the United States by the two companies. Additionally, the ITC ruling prohibits the unlicensed importation of infringing self-cleaning litter boxes and components, including cartridges that are manufactured abroad by or on behalf of, or imported by or on behalf of the companies. The ITC also has issued cease and desist orders prohibiting the companies from importing, selling, marketing, advertising, distributing, offering for sale, transferring, or soliciting U.S. agents or distributors for any of the covered products.

“We appreciate the ITC recognizing the validity and enforceability of our patent and more importantly for taking the necessary steps to prevent unfair competition,” said Terry Polistina, Salton’s president and CEO. “We will be working closely with U.S. Customs to ensure the effective enforcement of the ITC orders and will take whatever steps necessary to prevent continued infringement. Resellers should note that continued sale, marketing and distribution of the Lucky Litter and Our Pet’s products may be subject to enhanced damages, which could be substantial. We are considering all available options with respect to willful infringers.”

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