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Walgreens named official pharmacy of the New York Giants football team

BY Jim Frederick

DEERFIELD, Ill. New York football fans gearing up for the 2010 season will see a new player on the sidelines this year.

Walgreens announced an alliance with the New York Giants that will make it the team’s official retail pharmacy. Under the pact, the Giants will support Walgreens’ fall flu shot program and diabetes testing events with player appearances. In addition, Walgreens will produce, in partnership the Giants staff, a co-branded health-and-wellness publication that will be available in Walgreens stores throughout the New York area.

“Today’s athletes are role models in their communities, and we look forward to working with the Giants organization to heighten awareness around flu season, diabetes treatment and prevention, and other important health-and-wellness initiatives,” said Jeff Koziel, Walgreens’ VP New York market. “Walgreens and the Giants have rich histories in New York, and together we’ll work to educate and motivate New Yorkers to stay well throughout the season.”

As the Giants’ official retail pharmacy, Walgreens also serves as the exclusive presenting sponsor of New York Giants Youth Football Camps. The chain, which operates 7,545 drug stores nationwide, also owns the Manhattan-based Duane Reade drug chain and has more than 365 retail pharmacies throughout the greater New York and upper New Jersey metro area.

The merger of Walgreens’ health-and-wellness image with the athleticism and peak conditioning of the Giants organization is a natural fit for the nation’s top drug chain, and extends a tradition for the 109-year-old pharmacy retailer in its home market. “We are the official retail pharmacy of both the [Chicago] Cubs and the White Sox,” Walgreens spokesman Jim Cohn told Drug Store News. “In recent years we’ve [also] served as the official retail pharmacy of the Bears. And we’re eager to work with them again this season.”

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Impax Labs pursuing FDA approval for generic cholesterol-lowering drug

BY Alaric DeArment

HAYWARD, Calif. Generic drug maker Impax Labs is hoping to win approval for a generic cholesterol-lowering drug.

Impax said it had filed an application with the Food and Drug Administration for approval of a version of Merck & Co.’s Vytorin (ezetimibe and simvastatin) in the 10 mg/80 mg strength. Vytorin had sales of around $222 million during the 12-month period ended June 30, according to Wolters Kluwer Health.

Impax’s application contained a paragraph IV certification, a legal assertion that the patents covering Vytorin are invalid, unenforceable or won’t be infringed. In response, under the provisions of the Hatch-Waxman Act of 1984, Merck subsidiaries Schering Corp. and MSP Singapore Co. filed suit for patent infringement against Impax in the U.S. District Court for the District of New Jersey. The suit puts a stay on the FDA’s approval of the drug until Impax goes to trial and wins or until the companies resolve the matter before the court.

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Taro ups sales, profits in first half of 2010

BY Alaric DeArment

HAWTHORNE, N.Y. Taro Pharmaceutical Industries had increases in sales and profits during the first half of the year, the Israeli generic drug maker said.

Taro reported sales of $187.3 million, compared with $181.7 million during the first half of 2009. Profits increased by 24%, to $29.2 million, compared with $23.6 million in the first half of 2009.

For second quarter 2010, sales were $98 million, compared with $96.8 million in second quarter 2009. Profits for the quarter were $18.9 million, a 51% increase over second quarter 2009’s $12.5 million.

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