PHARMACY

Novo Nordisk to form first all-diabetes pro-cycling team

BY Alaric DeArment

BAGSVÆRD, Denmark — Drug maker Novo Nordisk is creating what it calls the world’s first all-diabetes professional cycling team, the company said.

The Danish pharmaceutical manufacturer announced plans to create Team Novo Nordisk, a global team with more than 100 cyclists, triathletes and runners, all of whom have diabetes.

The goal is to have the athletes compete in more than 500 competitions around the world throughout 2013, with the men’s cycling team competing in races such as the USA Pro Cycling Challenge, the Tour of Britain and the Paris-Tours, with the ultimate goal of joining the Tour de France.

"As part of our long-standing Changing Diabetes program, this partnership provides a tremendous opportunity to raise awareness, and educate, empower and inspire people with diabetes," Novo Nordisk SVP global marketing and global medical affairs Jakob Riis said. "This is yet another way Novo Nordisk is striving to create more opportunities to live well with diabetes."


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PHARMACY

Walgreens acquires independent pharmacy with specialty compounding expertise

BY Michael Johnsen

ADDISON, Texas — Walgreens last month acquired UCH Pharmaceutical Services, an independent retail pharmacy based in Indiana, the company that helped broker the deal announced Wednesday. 

UCH is an independent retail pharmacy that provided specialty compounding services throughout Grant County, Ind. 

The Transition Companies acted as UCH’s sole M&A advisor for this transaction, which closed in November 2012.

 

 

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WAG posts 3.9% November sales decline, but 38 million new loyalty members bodes well for future

BY Michael Johnsen

DEERFIELD, Ill. — Walgreens Wednesday morning reported November sales of $5.9 billion, a decrease of 3.9% versus the same period last year. Total front-end sales decreased 0.3% compared with the same month in fiscal 2012, while comparable store front-end sales were down 1.7%. Customer traffic in comparable stores was down 4.9% while basket size increased 3.2%.

However, registrations for Walgreens Balance Rewards loyalty program, which launched in September, totaled more than 38 million through November, denoting a strong start for the program. 

Sales were likely negatively impacted by store closures related to Hurricane Sandy, suggested Credit Suisse research analyst Ed Kelly, but that wasn’t the only drag on drug channel sales. "Additionally, underlying drug store front-end sales were likely pressured by continued consumer weakness, channel shifting to value oriented players and aggressive growth of small box formats like dollar stores," he wrote in a research note published last week. "Industry sales have been disappointing the last few months, and we believe an improvement in November is unlikely."

Walgreens’ number of comparable prescriptions filled were down 2.9% for the month, while pharmacy sales decreased 4.7%, including an 8.8% decline in same-store pharmacy sales. Pharmacy sales accounted for 63.2% of total sales for the month. Credit Suisse had projected pharmacy comparable sales declines as high as 11.8%, reflecting a 750 basis point negative impact from lost Express Scripts patients. That may suggest Walgreens has recaptured more than the 30% of former Express Scripts patients projected by Credit Suisse. 

An early start to the influenza season, as suggested by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention earlier this week, may help to improve pharmacy and over-the-counter same-store sales comparisons going forward, especially compared to the anemic sales contributed to a weak flu season a year ago. 

Overall sales in comparable stores decreased by 6.2% in November, Walgreens reported. Calendar day shifts negatively impacted total comparable sales by 20 basis points, while generic drug introductions in the last 12 months negatively impacted total comparable sales by 570 basis points.

Total sales for the first quarter of fiscal 2013, which ended Nov. 30, were $17.3 billion, down 4.5%. Comparable store sales for the first quarter of fiscal 2013 decreased 7.7%, while front-end comparable store sales for the quarter decreased 2%. Prescriptions filled at comparable stores decreased 4.6% and total prescriptions decreased 3% in the first quarter. Comparable pharmacy sales for the first quarter decreased 10.8%.

Flu shots administered at pharmacies and clinics season-to-date were nearly 4.6 million versus approximately 5 million last year.

Walgreens opened 39 stores during November, including 10 relocations and closed one.

 

 

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