PHARMACY

Rite Aid front-end comps up 3.8% amid shift in timing of Easter

BY Alaric DeArment

CAMP HILL, Pa. — Same-store sales at Rite Aid decreased 2% in March, including a 3.8% increase in same-store sales on the front end and a 4.5% decrease in pharmacy sales due in part to new introductions of generic drugs, the retail pharmacy chain said Thursday.

The 4,621-store chain reported total sales for the month of $1.939 billion, a 2.5% decrease compared with $1.989 billion in March 2012, while same-store prescription count increased 0.3%.

The company said that of the 3.8% increase in front-end same-store sales, 3% came from a shift in timing of Easter, which fell on March 31, as opposed to April 8 last year.

Investment firm Guggenheim Partners maintained its "Buy" rating on Rite Aid’s stock, saying it expected the company to post strong and above-trend growth in EBITDA in its fourth quarter 2012 earnings, which it will report next Thursday. Guggenheim analyst John Heinbockel noted that script count was below the 1.5% recent trendline, and the reason was unclear but appeared to be due to a weakening of the economy, but the firm expects the meaningful generic drug benefit to GM to persist into the first quarter of fiscal year 2014. 

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PHARMACY

FDA approves new allergy drug for children

BY Alaric DeArment

MONMOUTH JUNCTION, N.J. — The Food and Drug Administration has approved a new drug for allergies in children made by Tris Pharma, the drug maker said Wednesday.

Tris announced the approval of Karbinal ER (carbinoxamine maleate) extended-release oral suspension in the 4 mg-per-five milliliter strength. The company said the drug was the first sustained-release histamine receptor blocking agent for seasonal and perennial allergic rhinitis in children 2 and older.

"Karbinal ER is dosed only once every 12 hours, making it an attractive treatment option for the millions of allergy sufferers who don’t respond to second-generation antihistamines and aren’t satisfied with the cumbersome dosing schedules associated with the first-generation antihistamines," Tris Pharma president and CEO Ketan Mehta said. "The approval of Karbinal ER marks our fourth liquid extended-release NDA approval based on our proprietary OralXR+ technology."

 

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FDA approves Mylan genital herpes ointment

BY Alaric DeArment

PITTSBURGH — The Food and Drug Administration has approved a new drug for genital herpes made by Mylan, the drug maker said Wednesday.

Mylan announced the approval of acyclovir ointment in the 5% strength. The drug is a generic version of Valeant International’s Zovirax, used to manage initial genital herpes and in limited, non-life-threatening mucocutaneous herpes simplex virus infections in patients with compromised immune systems.

Various versions of the drug had sales of about $230 million in 2012, according to IMS Health. Mylan said it would start shipping the drug immediately.

 

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