PHARMACY

Hy-Vee announces new $4 generic drug program

BY Adam Kraemer

DES MOINES, Iowa Hy-Vee officials announced today that a new generic prescription drug program will begin Jan. 15 in all of their supermarkets and drug stores.

The program, a first for the chain, offers a 30-day supply of 400 generic drugs at a cost of $4 per prescription. The medicines on the list include antibiotics and drugs that treat such aliments as allergies, asthma, arthritis, diabetes, cholesterol and digestive issues.

Lists of the generic medicines included in the program will be available at every pharmacy counter and online at www.hy-vee.com beginning Jan. 15. The program is available to all customers, regardless of insurance status or copays. “We embark on this program in the spirit of exceptional value and helpful service. Those are our trademarks,” said Hy-Vee chief executive officer Ric Jurgens. “But we also do it out of a deep commitment to helping customers live easier, healthier, happier lives.”

As important as helping customers and benefit groups save money with the generics, the company said, was the education and patient counseling provided by Hy-Vee pharmacists when it comes to medication management and related wellness issues. “The landscape of medicine in regard to drug therapy is changing,” said Bob Egeland, assistant vice president of pharmacy. “Pharmacists are exceptionally trained to help customers understand generic drugs. But at Hy-Vee, it’s not just about filling a prescription. We have an entire team of friendly, approachable health care professionals with the knowledge and expertise to assist customers in all of their health care needs.”

In that spirit, Hy-Vee has focused, in recent years, on programs and events that promote healthy lifestyles. In addition to adding pharmacies to its stores, the company’s HealthMarkets offer an array of private label, natural and organic products; registered dietitians at more than 100 locations help customers address all of their health and wellness needs; and classes and events held in Hy-Vee Club rooms cover a variety of topics such as disease management, diet, exercise and healthy cooking.

Hy-Vee operates 222 retail stores in seven Midwestern states. For 2007 the company recorded total sales of $5.6 billion, ranking it among the top 20 supermarket chains and the top 40 private companies in the United States.

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Taro settles patent suit, launches generic Trileptal

BY DSN STAFF

HAWTHORNE Taro announced Wednesday that it has settled a patent lawsuit with Novartis and will launch oxcarbazepine tablets, the generic version of Novartis’ Trileptal. Oxcarbazepine tablets are indicated to treat seizures.

The litigation with Novartis centered on Taro’s Paragraph IV certification challenging Novartis’ patent protection on Trileptal. On Nov. 15, 2007, Taro received Food and Drug Administration approval for its abbreviated new drug application for oxcarbazepine tablets in 150 mg, 300 mg and 600 mg strengths, but the company waited to launch the drug until the lawsuit was settled.

According to Taro, Trileptal currently has annual U.S. sales of approximately $700 million.

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Sciele to launch six medications in 2008

BY DSN STAFF

ATLANTA In addition to Sciele’s announcement last week, reported in Drug Store News, that it will launch its new Sular formulation during the first quarter of 2008, the company also announced plans to launch five other drugs this year:

  • two new dosages of fenofibrate for the treatment of mixed dyslipidemia
  • Prandin for Type 2 diabetes
  • PrandiMet for Type 2 diabetes (pending FDA approval)
  • a head lice asphyxiation product (pending FDA approval)
  • a women’s health product

Sciele reaffirmed its full-year guidance at the JPMorgan 26th Annual Health Care Conference yesterday. As previously announced, full-year 2007 revenue is expected to range between $375 million and $385 million. The company expects full-year 2008 revenues to range from $440 million to $455 million.

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