PHARMACY

FMI reports supermarket pharmacy business is thriving

BY Drew Buono

ARLINGTON, Va. A new report from the Food Marketing Institute shows the supermarket pharmacy business to be healthy, and growing in services and tie-in opportunities, according to Supermarket News.

Among other findings, “Supermarket Pharmacy Trends 2008” reports that key areas are up significantly from 2002 to 2007, including average number of prescriptions filled per day, median percentage of prescription sales from generic drugs, average percentage of prescription sales to total store sales, and median of the gross margin for the pharmacy department.

Additionally, the study said 92.7 percent of supermarket pharmacies will be ready for e-prescribing by the end of the year, while nearly half offer Medication Therapy Management in either all or some stores, with another third planning to implement it over the next year.

Randy Heiser, vice president, pharmacy, Giant Eagle, Pittsburgh and former chairman of FMI’s pharmacy service committee said the report “shows that pharmacy in the grocery industry is healthy and continuing to show uptrends in sales, while also showing some improvements in efficiencies.”

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ViroPharma to purchase Lev in $600 million-plus deal

BY Drew Buono

EXTON, Pa. ViroPharma will buy biotech company Lev Pharmaceutical, in a deal worth up to $617.5 million in cash and stock, according to published reports. ViroPharma will pay $442.9 million upfront and may pay an additional $174.6 million if Lev’s drug candidate Cinryze meets certain milestones.

In a conference call, ViroPharma chief executive officer Vincent Milano said peak sales of Cinryze could reach at least $250 million to $300 million per year if the drug is approved both as a preventive treatment and a treatment for acute cases.

The Food and Drug Administration is reviewing Cinryze as a preventive treatment for hereditary angioedema, which cause severe swelling, and a panel has recommended the drug be approved.

ViroPharma said about 10,000 people have the disease in the U.S., but only 4,600 have been diagnosed. This has led the FDA to grant Cinryze orphan drug status, which is given to medications that treat illnesses that affect less than 200,000 people in the U.S.

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Stomach infection may help prevent asthma

BY Alaric DeArment

WASHINGTON One of the biggest causes of ulcers and stomach cancer might also have potential to help people, according to a study published in the journal Clinical Infections Diseases.

The researchers who conducted the study said Tuesday that Helicobacter pylori bacteria, which have recently been shown to cause the stomach illnesses, could prevent asthma in children.

The study examined data on 7,000 children from the National Health and Nutrition Survey and found that children aged 3 to 13 were 59 percent less likely to develop asthma if they had H. pylori, which infected 5.4 percent of children born in the 1990s.

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