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FDA advisory committee recommends approval for ezogabine

BY Alaric DeArment

RESEARCH TRIANGLE PARK, N.C. A Food and Drug Administration advisory committee has given a nod of approval to an epilepsy drug made by GlaxoSmithKline and Valeant Pharmaceuticals International, the two drug makers said Wednesday.

The FDA’s Peripheral and Central Nervous System Drugs Advisory committee voted unanimously that the drug ezogabine was an effective treatment for adults with partial-onset seizures, and also voted that monitoring for infections and kidney stones for patients using the drug should not be instituted. The committee’s vote does not guarantee that the FDA will approve the drug, but the agency will take it into account when making its final decision.

“We are encouraged by the advisory committee’s assessment of the efficacy and safety of ezogabine and await a decision by the FDA,” said Atul Pande, SVP of the Neurosciences Medicines Development Center in GSK’s North American pharmaceuticals division. “For appropriate patients, we believe ezogabine could offer an important adjunctive treatment option for partial-onset seizures that are not well-controlled.”

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Fisher-Price’s iconic record player returns to retail

BY Allison Cerra

SOUTHAMPTON, Pa. Fisher-Price’s iconic Music Box record player is returning to retail shelves after a 30-year absence.

The preschool toy features a classic wind-up mechanism that plays the records as they spin around the turntable. Each player comes complete with five individual records featuring 10 songs (two songs per record), and features a convenient compartment for storing the records and built-in handle for tunes on the go. Featured songs include: “Humpty Dumpty,” “Jack and Jill,” “Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star,” “Farmer In the Dell,” “Where Oh Where Has My Little Dog Gone,” “London Bridge,” “Camptown Races,” “Children’s Marching Song (This Old Man),” “Hickory Dickory Dock” and “Au Clair De La Lune.”

The record player will begin its rollout exclusively at Target stores nationwide.

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Economic downturn takes hold of Stater Bros.’ Q3 earnings

BY Allison Cerra

SAN BERNARDINO, Calif. A regional supermarket chain experienced declines across the board during its third quarter ended June 27.

Consolidated sales for Stater Bros. dropped $28.6 million to $900 million in the third quarter after selling its Santee Dairies assets in the first quarter, the company said. Supermarket sales for the quarter also dropped $5.6 million, or 0.61%, compared with the same period of fiscal 2009. Additionally, same-store sales decreased 1.19%, or $10.8 million for the thirteen weeks ended June 27, compared with the third quarter 2009. Stater Bros. said its overall net income for the third quarter totaled $6 million compared, with $15.1 million in the year-ago period.

Jack Brown, Stater Bros. chairman, president and CEO, said the economic downturn impacted its customers’ budgets but said its customer loyalty has made it a successful business.

“A cornerstone of our business strategy is to retain their loyalty by providing them the best value possible which includes not only being competitive on price, but also providing our customers with unparalleled customer service. We are sacrificing gross profit in the short term in order to retain our customers in the long term,” Brown said. “We remain focused on controlling our operating cost while providing our customers with the hometown service they have come to expect and the low prices they need on each visit to their Stater Bros. supermarket.”

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