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Walgreens sees spike in July sales

BY Allison Cerra

DEERFIELD, Ill. Walgreens had July sales of approximately $5.27 billion, an increase of 7.3% for the same month in 2008. Sales in comparable stores (those open at least a year) increased 2%.

Comparable store front-end sales decreased 1.3%. Front-end sales were hurt by slowing sales of discretionary items in a challenging economy.

 

July pharmacy sales increased 8.4%, while comparable pharmacy sales increased 3.8%. Comparable pharmacy sales were negatively impacted by four percentage points due to generic drug introductions in the last 12 months.

Prescriptions filled at comparable stores increased 5% in July, including 1.7 percentage points due to more patients filling 90-day prescriptions. Pharmacy sales accounted for 66.8 percent of total sales for the month.

Walgreens opened 45 stores during July, including three relocations, and closed one store.

At July 31, Walgreens operated 7,449 locations in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico and Guam. That includes 6,943 drugstores, 587 more than a year ago, including 70 stores acquired over the last 12 months. The company also operates worksite health centers, home care facilities and specialty, institutional and mail service pharmacies. Its Take Care Health Systems subsidiary manages 720 in-store convenient care clinics and worksite health and wellness centers. Franchisees of Option Care, Inc., a wholly-owned subsidiary of Walgreens, are not included in Walgreens location or store count.

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Study: Zinc good for healthy immune function, destroying viruses, bacteria

BY Michael Johnsen

NEW YORK Zinc not only supports healthy immune function, but increases activation of T cells responsible for destroying viruses and bacteria, according to a new study.

According to the study found in the 2009 print issue of the Journal of Leukocyte Biology, scientists found that T cells taken from the zinc-supplemented group had higher activation than those from the placebo group.

“As the debate over zinc supplementation in healthy individuals continues,” said John Wherry, Ph.D., deputy editor of the Journal of Leukocyte Biology, “studies like this help shed light on how zinc may enhance the ability of our immune systems to fight off foreign invaders. Equally important, this work points toward new possible targets for entirely new drugs to help augment immune function and prevent or stop infections that might be resistant to traditional antibiotics.”

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Safeway launches annual fundraising campaign for MDA

BY Anna Mcgrath

PLEASANTON, Calif. Safeway announced its seventh companywide campaign to support the Muscular Dystrophy Association and its work to defeat more than 40 devastating neuromuscular diseases.

Proceeds from the campaign go towards financing medical research and programs to improve the lives of people with neuromuscular diseases.

Safeway’s 2009 MDA campaign commences this month and will last through Labor Day. Over the years the company has raised more that $41.7 million for muscular dystrophy charities.

“Safeway is an invaluable partner that has proven, time and time again, that it cares deeply about people affected by muscular dystrophy, ALS and related diseases and all people with disabilities,” said MDA national chairman Jerry Lewis. “By reaching out to millions of customers each day, Safeway will raise public awareness while bringing hope and help to the hundreds of thousands of people – kids and adults – living with these muscle-wasting diseases.”

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