PHARMACY

Rite Aid’s same-store sales get a boost

BY Michael Johnsen

CAMP HILL, Pa. — Rite Aid on Thursday morning posted a same-store sales increase of 1.1% for the four weeks ended Jan. 22, including a 2.2% lift across the front-end and growth of 0.6% in pharmacy comparable sales.

Prescription count at comparable stores was flat compared with the prior-year period.

Total drug store sales were $1.9 billion, which is flat as compared with the same period last year. Prescription revenue accounted for 69.1% of drug store sales, and third-party prescription revenue represented 93.3% of pharmacy sales.

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PHARMACY

Teva, APP develop generic Gemzar

BY Alaric DeArment

JERUSALEM — Generic drug makers Teva Pharmaceutical Industries and APP Pharmaceuticals have launched their version of a chemotherapy drug, the two companies said Wednesday.

Teva and APP launched gemcitabine hydrochloride injfection in 200-mg and 1-g single-dose vials. The drug is a version of Eli Lilly’s Gemzar, which had sales of about $785 million in the United States in 2010, according to IMS Health. The drug is used to treat cancers of the lungs, pancreas, breasts and ovaries.

Under the agreement, APP will manufacture the drug, while Teva will market it. Teva was the first company to win approval for a generic version of Gemzar, entitling it to 180 days of market exclusivity in which to compete directly with the branded version.

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Watson seeks FDA approval for generic Welchol

BY Alaric DeArment

MORRISTOWN, N.J. — Watson Pharmaceuticals is seeking regulatory approval for a generic drug for high cholesterol.

Watson, through subsidiary Watson Labs, said it applied for approval of a generic version of Daiichi Sankyo’s and Genzyme’s Welchol (colesevelam hydrochloride). The drug, a powdered oral suspension, is used to reduce “bad” LDL cholesterol in patients with primary hyperlipidemia, either alone or in combination with a statin.

Watson’s application included a Paragraph IV certification, a legal assertion that the patents covering Welchol are invalid, unenforceable or not vulnerable to infringement. Under the terms of the Hatch-Waxman Act of 1984, Daiichi Sankyo and Genzyme have filed suit against Watson in the U.S. District Court for the District of Delaware, putting a stay of final Food and Drug Administration approval on the drug until June 2013, or until the companies reach a settlement.

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