PHARMACY

Kmart expands discount drug program

BY Alaric DeArment

HOFFMAN ESTATES, Ill. As grocery and big-box retailers offer generic prescription drugs at reduced prices, Kmart Pharmacy is playing one-upmanship.

On June 22, the chain began offering more than 500 commonly prescribed generic drugs for families at its 1,100 pharmacies. The drugs include more than 100 antibiotic, pain, cold and cough drugs, as well as oral contraceptives, pre-natal drugs, cancer and osteoporosis medications. Prices range from $5 to $25.

Wal-Mart began its discount program on generic prescription drugs in 2006. Since then, stores such as Meijer, Kroger, Giant Eagle and others have followed suit.

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InstaClinic temporarily shuts down; in talks with potential partners

BY Drew Buono

ST. LOUIS Less than two years after opening, all four InstaClinic locations have closed, according to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.

Still, Schnuck Markets, which housed the clinics in its stores, and Patti Sohn, the nurse practitioner who launched them, say they might return.

Sohn described InstaClinic as “in transition” and “restructuring.” She said how many clinics open and their locations will “hinge on continued discussions with Schnucks and our other potential partners.” Sohn said, “Much depends on community need and the physical space available within the various Schnuck markets.”

Michael Juergensmeyer, Schnucks’ vice president of pharmacy, said Sohn, the chain and potential partners are in discussions. He said they’ve spoken with a potential partner interested in opening several clinics in Missouri and another with interest in opening clinics in Illinois.

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Merck, Schering-Plough end Claritin-Singulair combo partnership

BY Drew Buono

KENILWORTH and WHITEHOUSE STATION, N.J. Merck and Schering-Plough have withdrawn their application for a combined respiratory drug featuring Schering-Plough’s Claritin and Merck’s Singulair, according to Reuters. This ends an eight-year partnership between the two companies over the proposed drug.

In April, the Food and Drug Administration rejected the combination pill. Both drugs are allergy medications and the companies were hoping that the new combination pill would extend the lucrative franchises.

Claritin is now sold as an over-the-counter allergy treatment and generic versions are available, while asthma-and-allergy drug Singulair was Merck’s biggest-selling product last year with $4.3 billion in sales.

As a result of terminating the respiratory joint venture, Schering expects to receive $105 million from Merck, which Schering will recognize over the remaining three quarters of 2008.

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