PHARMACY

Franchisees sue Medicine Shoppe, Medicap, Cardinal Health

BY Alaric DeArment

COLUMBUS, Ohio Seven franchisees representing more than 600 retail pharmacies are filing a class-action lawsuit against Medicine Shoppe International, Medicap Pharmacies and parent company Cardinal Health over a set of new franchise agreement options introduced in July 2009, according to court documents.

In a suit filed Tuesday in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Ohio, the franchisees, calling themselves Franchisees for Fair Value, allege that Cardinal tried to renegotiate franchise agreements whereby so-called “Option 1” stores were offered a new contract for which they would have to pay an early termination fee of $1 million or more and agree to purchase only from Cardinal for 12 years or more without competitive bidding. They allege that though Cardinal promised to adopt the policy only if 95% of stores accepted it, the company took in “tens of millions” of dollars in prepaid franchise fees, never reaching the 95% mark, and then began reducing services across the board.

Other stores, known as “Option 3” stores, declined to accept the new offering and allege that they incurred damages through an “arbitrary” reduction in services. They say that MSI and Cardinal damaged the overall franchise by offering a flat monthly fee of $499, despite existing agreements that require payments of up to $25,000 per month to carry the Medicine Shoppe or Medicap brand.

MSI and Medicap general manager Terry Burnside said in a statement that the case had “no merit” and was based on past issues.

“Because we respect our franchisees autonomy as business owners, Medicine Shoppe empowered franchisees to select which of the options made the most sense for their businesses, including the choice to stay with their current agreement,” Burnside said. “We firmly believe that our franchise options are fair and equitable and that franchisees were provided full opportunity to determine which option would be most beneficial for their business.”

Franchisees named in the suit were MSI franchisees South Dakota-based Buechler Pharmacy, Superior Care Pharmacy, California-based MS Artesia 742 and Kansas-based Daniel Reif Inc., and Medicap franchisees Idaho-based Trone Health Services, Iowa residents Toni and Daniel Sumpter and North Carolina residents Marilyn and Robert Moseman.

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Study: Dementia may be triggered by depression in diabetics

BY Allison Cerra

NEW YORK Diabetic adults with depression are twice as likely to develop dementia, according to a new study published in the Journal of General Internal Medicine.

To test the idea that the development of dementia — which causes progressive decline of thinking and reasoning abilities — may be caused by both factors, researchers (that included Group Health Research Institute in Seattle and the Veterans Affairs Puget Sound Health Care System) led by Wayne Katon, professor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences at the University of Washington, tracked the outcomes of adults from the Group Health Cooperative’s diabetes registry who agreed to participate.

Over the five-year period, 36 of 455 patients, or 7.9%, of the diabetes patients with major depression were diagnosed with dementia. Among the 3,382 patients with diabetes alone, 163 patients, or 4.8%, developed dementia.

The researchers calculated that major depression with diabetes was associated with a 2.7-fold increase of dementia, compared with diabetes alone. Because the onset of dementia sometimes can be marked by depression, the researchers also adjusted their hazard model to exclude patients who developed dementia in the first two years after their depression diagnosis. The team’s previous findings from earlier studies showed that depression increases the mortality rate among people with diabetes, as well as the rate of such complications as heart, blood vessel, kidney and vision problems.

“It seems prudent for clinicians to add effective screening and treatment for depression to other preventive measures such as exercise, weight control, and blood sugar control to protect against the development of cognitive deficits in patients with diabetes,” researchers said.

Grants from the National Institute of Mental Health and National Institutes of Health, supported the study.

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Divine Mercy Care Pharmacy closes in D.C. area

BY Alaric DeArment

CHANTILLY, Va. The only pro-life pharmacy in the metropolitan area of the nation’s capital is closing, according to published reports.

The Catholic News Agency reported that the Divine Mercy Care Pharmacy, in northern Virginia, was having financial difficulties and would need hundreds of thousands of dollars and would have to quintuple its customer base to stay open.

The pharmacy carried many of the same products as other pharmacies, but did not have contraceptive products, according to the CNA report.  The pharmacy’s prescription records have been transferred to the local CVS store.

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