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Appeals court lifts stay; suspension of Cardinal’s Fla. distribution center license reinstated

BY Michael Johnsen

WASHINGTON — Cardinal Health’s appeal to delay a Drug Enforcement Agency suspension of its license to distribute controlled substances out of its Lakeland, Fla., distribution center was denied Friday by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit. The ruling lifts a previously granted emergency stay issued by the appellate court earlier this month.

Consequently, Cardinal may not distribute controlled substances out of its Florida distribution center while it appeals the DEA ruling. The wholesaler stated it would continue to meet its customer needs out of other distribution centers, according to reports. Cardinal will resume its appeal of that ruling April 25 with an appellant’s brief scheduled before the U.S. appeals court. The DEA will be heard May 25.

The DEA alleges that 4-of-the-2,500 retail pharmacies served by the Florida distribution center serves had illegally dispensed prescriptions for controlled substances and that Cardinal had failed to ensure that the drugs were not diverted.

Separately, an administrative hearing on Cardinal’s Lakeland, Fla., license is scheduled to begin at the DEA April 3, according to published reports. That process could take more than a year, however.

The D.C. appeals court also denied a motion from the Healthcare Distribution Management Association to file an amicus curiae brief in support of Cardinal Health, according to court records, stating that "neither the federal nor the D.C. circuit rules provide for amici to file or respond to motions."

 

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$10 billion share repurchase program completed by Target

BY Allison Cerra

MINNEAPOLIS — Target has completed its $10 billion share repurchase program.

The program, which was authorized by the retailer’s board of directors in November 2007, represents the repurchase of 193.5 million shares, or nearly 23% of its outstanding shares from that time period, at an average price of $51.68 per share.

Target will continue to repurchase shares under the $5 billion program approved by its board of directors in January, which it expects to complete in the next two to three years.

"Target’s completion of the 2007 share repurchase program demonstrates our long-standing commitment to return cash to shareholders through both dividends and share repurchase," said John Mulligan, incoming EVP and chief financial officer of Target. "Through disciplined financial management, Target continues to generate far more cash than we need to fund appropriate reinvestment in our core businesses. As a result, we intend to continue to invest in the repurchase of shares under our January 2012 authorization."

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Safeway’s board OKs quarterly dividend, increase for stock repurchase authorization

BY Allison Cerra

PLEASANTON, Calif. — Safeway announced that its board of directors Friday declared a regular quarterly cash dividend of 14.5 cents per share.

The dividend will be payable on April 12 to stockholders of record at the close of business on March 22, the company noted.

In related financial news, the retailer’s board also increased the authorized level of the company’s stock repurchase program by $1 billion. The stock repurchase program, which may be accelerated, suspended, delayed or discontinued at any time, had about $400 million remaining through Feb. 22, Safeway said.

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