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Mylan, Gilead sign HIV/AIDS drug deal

BY Alaric DeArment

PITTSBURGH — Mylan and Gilead Sciences have made an agreement under which Mylan will have rights to produce and market generic versions of Gilead drugs for HIV and AIDS in developing countries.

The agreement, involving Gilead and Mylan subsidiary Mylan Labs Ltd., centers around drugs containing emtricitabine, the active ingredient in such drugs as Emtriva, and such fixed-dose combinations as Truvada (emtricitabine and tenofovir disoproxil fumarate) and the experimental Quad.

"Access to affordable medicine continues to be an acute need in tackling HIV/AIDS and once again we are delighted to be collaborating with Gilead in these efforts," Mylan CEO Heather Bresch said. "Mylan is focused on expanding access to high-quality treatments to those in need around the world. Partnerships like this one ensure that patients in developing markets have access to important, recommended treatment options, like those containing emtricitabine."


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SoloHealth, WellPoint announce strategic relationship

BY Michael Johnsen

ATLANTA — SoloHealth on Friday announced a new relationship with WellPoint to help provide consumers with convenient access to information about their health and wellness through the next-generation SoloHealth Station consumer kiosks.

The news comes on the heels of SoloHealth’s recent FDA approval in June, as well as its announcement of an aggressive rollout to retail locations nationwide to begin this fall.

The SoloHealth Station is an interactive, comprehensive health-and-wellness screening kiosk for consumers placed in high-traffic retail locations or high-volume places like corporate campuses or hospitals. “We’re really taking healthcare to where the people are,” Bart Foster, SoloHealth CEO, told DSN.

The SoloHealth Station provides health screenings for vision, blood pressure, weight and body mass index, a symptom checker, as well as an overall health assessment free of charge. SoloHealth also helps connect consumers to local professionals through their databases, helping people enter the most appropriate and accurate point in the health care system.

With this kiosk in mind, SoloHealth was one of the companies invited to testify before the Food and Drug Administration’s public meeting on ways to expand the Rx-to-OTC switch paradigm. "The kiosk can help to drive awareness around a particular condition or remedy, can help educate the consumer and spark action, Foster said. "It’s precisely in the sweet spot of what the FDA is trying to do."

"We have a longstanding commitment to help people get healthy and stay healthy by leveraging consumer-friendly products and services to improve their health and wellness," stated Brett Moraski, VP transformation for WellPoint. "SoloHealth’s consumer kiosk … is a truly innovative product that leverages technology to provide an enhanced, convenient and engaging consumer health experience. By investing in SoloHealth, we are excited to help millions of Americans better manage their own health and wellbeing."

The relationship includes a financial investment but terms were not disclosed. Additionally, Brett Moraski has been named to the SoloHealth board of directors.


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Harris Teeter announces store growth plans

BY Allison Cerra

MATTHEWS, N.C. — Harris Teeter plans to expand its presence in existing markets, the company said in its third-quarter earnings release.

Harris Teeter said its capital expenditure plans entail the continued expansion of its existing markets, including the Washington, D.C., metro market area, which incorporates northern Virginia, the District of Columbia, southern Maryland and coastal Delaware. Back in June, the retailer and entered a purchase and sale agreement with regional chain Lowes Foods, through which Harris Teeter acquired ten Lowes Foods store locations in the central Carolinas region and Lowes Foods acquired six Harris Teeter store locations in western North Carolina. Next quarter, Harris Teeter said it plans to open a total of seven stores (6-of-the-10 stores acquired from Lowes Foods and one additional store) and complete major remodels on nine stores, five of which will be expanded in size.

Harris Teeter noted that it continues to accelerate its new store growth as the new store development program for fiscal 2012 is expected to result in a 4.5% increase in retail square footage, as compared with a 3.2% increase in fiscal 2011. Looking ahead, the retailer said it plans to open 12 new stores (two of which are replacements), open the three stores acquired from Lowes Foods that are being converted to the new innovative format and complete major remodels on nine stores (three of which will be expanded in size) during fiscal 2013. The new store openings currently are scheduled for three in the first quarter, two in the second quarter, two in the third quarter and eight in the fourth quarter.

Third-quarter sales for Harris Teeter rose 4.6% to $1.15 billion for the period ended July 1, thanks to an increase in comparable-store sales and sales from new stores, partially offset by store closings. Comps for the North Carolina-based retailer rose 3.7% for the quarter.

The Lowes Foods transaction, the company said, impacted its net earnings, which dropped from $32.1 million to $15.8 million for the third quarter of fiscal 2012. The net impact of the Lowes Foods transaction costs and insurance gains reduced earnings from continuing operations after tax in the third quarter of fiscal 2012 by $10.4 million, or 21 cents per diluted share.

At the end of the third quarter, Harris Teeter operated 201 stores.

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