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Stop & Shop hosts Healthy Kids Summit

BY Allison Cerra

QUINCY, Mass. — Stop & Shop is hoping to inspire families to make small changes to be healthy.

The company on Tuesday afternoon will host its Healthy Kids Summit at the Dana-Farber Field House at Patriot Place in Foxborough, Mass., which will unite the retailer with local community experts who are aiding the fight against childhood obesity.

The event, which is free and open to the public, will be comprised of a brief 30-minute panel discussion and a question-and-answer session to provide tips for families to make small, easy, changes to get moving and be healthy, Stop & Shop said. The panel — which will be moderated by Suzi Robinson, community relations manager and spokeswoman of Stop & Shop’s New England division — will be followed by a HOPSports fitness routine inside the Dana-Farber Field House, led by Brandy Cruthird, owner of the Body by Brandy Fitness Studio in Boston.

Other guests slated to appear include National Football League New England Patriots place kicker Stephen Gostkowski; Stop & Shop in-store nutritionist Julie Menounos; Hockomock YMCA president Ed Hurley; and Karen Zangari, registered dietitian at Memorial Hospital in Pawtucket, R.I.

"Healthy eating choices begin at the supermarket for many families, which is why Stop & Shop is committed to helping customers make informed decisions while shopping," Robinson said. "We are excited to bring together these great community leaders to bring some inspiration to the community. We share a common bond: to help our kids stay active and be healthy."

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Ahold USA’s David Sencabaugh named New Jersey Council of Chain Drug Stores Pharmacist of the Year

BY Alaric DeArment

CARLISLE, Pa. — The New Jersey Retail Merchants Association has named Ahold USA director of pharmacy professional services David Sencabaugh the New Jersey Council of Chain Drug Stores 2011 Pharmacist of the Year, Ahold USA said Monday.

Ahold USA, the U.S. subsidiary of Netherlands-based Royal Ahold, operates the Giant-Carlisle, Giant-Landover and Stop & Shop supermarket chains, as well as the Peapod online grocery service.

"David is an integral part of Ahold USA’s pharmacy team, and this prestigious honor is one that is truly well-deserved," Ahold USA SVP pharmacy and health and beauty care Raymond McCall said.

Sencabaugh currently serves various executive positions in several state pharmacy councils in New England, is a member of the Western New England College of Pharmacy advisory board and is a participant in the National Association of Chain Drug Stores’ policy council.

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Lipitor going generic garners attention far and wide

BY Alaric DeArment

WHAT IT MEANS AND WHY IT’S IMPORTANT — With annual sales gaining on the $8 billion mark in the United States alone, according to IMS Health, Lipitor (atorvastatin) is the top-selling drug in the world, and the price markdown that Ranbaxy Labs’ launch (and subsequent generic launches) will bring, greatly will expand its accessibility. So it’s no surprise that it has attracted so much media attention over the past few weeks.

(THE NEWS: Senators look into Pfizer-PBM deal for Lipitor. For the full story, click here)

Pfizer wants to profit from the drug for as long as it can before May 31, 2012, when Ranbaxy’s market-exclusivity period ends and atorvastatin calcium becomes fair game for any generic drug maker. But some of Pfizer’s methods — particularly, partnering with PBMs to make pharmacies dispense branded Lipitor and charge customers the same price as the generic — already are attracting Capitol Hill’s scrutiny.

And that’s to say nothing of the attention that the country’s two biggest PBMs, Express Scripts and Medco Health Solutions, already were getting from Congress with their proposed merger. The Pfizer deal begs a question: what sort of effect would a combined ESI-Medco mega-PBM’s ability to restrict generic dispensing have on what payers — and ultimately taxpayers and people paying into health plans — spend on health care?

Other plans include a partnership with Diplomat Specialty Pharmacy to sell Lipitor directly to consumers through the mail and an attempt at an over-the-counter switch.

It’s one thing when a generic company launches a version of a drug that’s already been on the market for years or challenges the patent on a drug with less-than-blockbuster annual sales. But Lipitor is much bigger, not only in terms of its sales figures, but what the expiration of its patent protection symbolizes: the end of the blockbuster era.

Like many drug makers, such as Merck and Bristol-Myers Squibb, Pfizer has prepared itself by transitioning into specialty and biotech drugs, but holding on to Lipitor for as long as it can will buy it time before the blockbuster era ends.

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