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Combined HIV drug therapy may cause heart rhythm issues

BY Alaric DeArment

ROCKVILLE, Md. Combining two HIV drugs made by Roche subsidiary Genentech and Abbott could cause abnormalities in patients’ heart rhythms, the Food and Drug Administration said Tuesday.

The FDA announced preliminary data suggesting that combining Roche’s Invirase (saquinavir) and Abbott’s Norvir (ritonavir) could prolong the heart’s QT and PR intervals. Prolongation of the QT interval can lead to a condition known as torsades de pointes, an abnormal heart rhythm, while a prolonged PR interval can lead to heart block, also an abnormal heart rhythm. Both conditions can cause lightheadedness, fainting or abnormal heart beats. In some cases, torsades de pointes can progress to ventricular fibrillation, a potentially fatal irregular heartbeat.

The FDA said review of the data was ongoing.

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Stop & Shop, Giant Food donate to earthquake relief in Haiti

BY Allison Cerra

QUINCY, Mass. Ahold USA-owned chains Stop & Shop and Giant Food announced they have raised a combined total of more than $900,000 for earthquake relief in Haiti.

Stop & Shop customers and associates raised $724,792, while Giant Food donated $201,186. All of the funds will be donated to the American Red Cross International Response Fund for Haiti earthquake relief efforts.

The chains coordinated the fundraising drive at all of their stores between Jan. 16 and Jan. 31.

“Due to the extent of the catastrophe, we felt we needed to do as much as we could to help with the relief efforts by giving our associates and customers an easy way to contribute to earthquake victims,” the retail chains said in a release. “Our friends, neighbors and customers have been impacted by this disaster. Giant Food is proud that our customers and associates rallied around these efforts. Our contribution will help the Red Cross provide support to the hundreds of thousands of Haitians impacted by this tragedy.”

Giant Food, headquartered in Landover, Md., operates 180 supermarkets in Virginia, Maryland, Delaware, and the District of Columbia, while Stop & Shop operates stores throughout Massachusetts, Connecticut, Rhode Island, New Hampshire, New York, and New Jersey.

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Jewel-Osco changes management structure

BY Allison Cerra

NEW YORK Supervalu-owned grocery chain Jewel-Osco will cut 110 store directors as part of a management structure overhaul, according to published reports.

The grocery chain is doing the realignment to “become more efficient and competitive in the marketplace,” said company spokeswoman Karen May. “Historically, Jewel-Osco has operated its retail locations with two store directors, one to manage the Jewel food side of the business and another to handle Osco drug operations. The company will move to a new structure in which the standard will include a single store director who is responsible for the entire store operation.”

Jewel-Osco operates 185 stores in Illinois, Iowa and Indiana.

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