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The Jean Coutu Group posts Q1 results

BY Antoinette Alexander

LONGUEUIL — Canadian pharmacy chain The Jean Coutu Group, which operates a network of 407 franchised stores in Quebec, New Brunswick and Ontario, reported a drop in net income in its first quarter, largely due to much smaller gains from the sale of Rite Aid shares versus the year-earlier period, the company stated.

The company stated that net profit in the quarter ended June 1 was C$108.6 million, or 51 Canadian cents per share, compared with C$397.3 million, or C$1.81 per share, in the year-ago period. The decrease in net profit is mainly attributable to the C$348.0 million gains related to the investment in Rite Aid recognized during the first quarter of fiscal year 2013 compared with a gain of C$54.4 million recognized during the first quarter of fiscal year 2014.

Net profit before gains related to the investment in Rite Aid and change in fair value of other financial assets amounted to C$54.2 million (26 Canadian cents per share) for the first quarter of fiscal year 2014 compared with C$51.6 million (24 Canadian cents per share) for the first quarter of previous fiscal year.

“We are satisfied with the results recorded in the first quarter. Operating income showed solid growth in spite of the deflationary impact of generic drugs on pharmacy sales" stated François Coutu, President and CEO. "The pharmacies affiliated to our network still show the best performance of the industry. We will therefore continue to implement effectively our business plan to pursue our growth over the coming quarters and maintain our leadership.”

During the quarter, the company sold 72.5 million shares in the Camp Hill, Pa.-based drug store chain Rite Aid and recently announced plans to sell another 40.5 million shares for C$110.8 million.

Jean Coutu holds about 105.9 million shares of Rite Aid, and the sale brings its share in the U.S. retailer down to 7.2%.

Jean Coutu operates a network of 407 franchised stores located in the provinces of Québec, New Brunswick and Ontario under the banners of PJC Jean Coutu, PJC Clinique, PJC Santé and PJC Santé Beauté, It also owns ProDocLtd ("ProDoc"), a Québec-based subsidiary and manufacturer of generic drugs.
 

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Improved diabetic care curbs amputations, but need for pharmacy care will only grow

BY Jim Frederick

Diabetes management works.

A new study from the University of Iowa confirms what researchers at the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported last year: that the number and severity of lower-limb amputations among American diabetics is down “dramatically” in recent years. The latest findings, reported by Drug Store News Monday, show a nearly 29% overall drop in lower-limb amputations among Medicare patients with diabetes between 2000 and 2010. And there was a “striking” decrease in the severity of such amputations, as well, according to study author Phinit Phisitkul.

“Amputations at the upper and lower leg level are down 47%, while amputations at the partial-toe level increased by 24%,” he said. “What this means for patients is increased mobility, independence and survival rates.”

The new research by the University of Iowa follows an earlier study from the CDC, which reported last year that “the rate of leg and foot amputations among U.S. adults aged 40 and older with diagnosed diabetes declined by 65 percent between 1996 and 2008.”

Both studies credit advances in foot care and other treatments for much of the decline. But they also credit the kind of disease management, monitoring, patient counseling and education that pharmacists increasingly provide in the retail setting through a slew of diabetes care programs. “Improvements in blood-sugar control, foot care and diabetes management, along with declines in cardiovascular disease, are likely to have contributed to the decline in leg and foot amputations among people with diagnosed diabetes,” CDC noted in its report.

The reduction in amputations is, of course, welcome news. But thanks to many Americans’ sedentary lifestyles and poor dietary choices, Type 2 diabetes continues to stalk an increasing number of victims in the U.S. According to the American Diabetes Association, nearly 26 million Americans already have the condition, and that number will grow to 44 million by 2034.

That means pharmacy-based diabetes management programs will continue to grow, as well. Are you prepared?

 

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Orexo’s Zubsolv receives FDA nod

BY Alaric DeArment

NEW YORK — The Food and Drug Administration has approved a new drug for treating opioid dependence.

Orexo U.S. announced the approval of Zubsolv (buprenorphine; naloxone) sublingual tablets. The drug, Schedule III controlled substance, is approved for use once per day in the maintenance treatment of opioid dependence. Opioid dependence affects nearly 5 million people in the United States, according to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, but about 60% of those affected don’t receive treatment.

"Orexo is committed to helping patients suffering from opioid dependence effectively manage their condition," Orexo president Robert DeLuca said. "The advanced formulation of Zubsolv was developed using our proprietary technology to meet the needs of patients not satisfied with previously approved buprenorphine-naloxone formulations."


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