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Topco institutes OTC substitution program for generic Rx

BY Michael Johnsen

SKOKIE, Ill. — Topco, a member-owned cooperative serving the food industry, recently kicked off an initiative substituting its TopCare-branded over-the-counter medicines for the equivalent prescription pharmaceutical, where appropriate, in an effort to save patient dollars and promote the TopCare brand.

"We have developed a number of marketing tools to educate the pharmacists, retail employees and other member teams," Curt Maki, Topco VP health and beauty care/general merchandise program management and pharmacy, told Drug Store News. "We also have developed tools directly targeting consumers through various tactics and messaging, and will be working with our member stores to help them inform their customers on the program."

Specifically, where generic versions of recently switched medicines like Prilosec OTC are available without a prescription, participating supermarket pharmacists are able to substitute the equivalent TopCare product, omeprazole in this case, in place of a prescription heartburn remedy like Nexium. Depending on the prescription drug insurance plan, the co-pay for an OTC equivalent could total less than the co-pay associated with a generic prescription, Maki said. In other cases, the actual retail price of the TopCare brand could also be less than the generic prescription co-pay. "This program works very much like a generic prescription substitution," Maki said. "But instead the pharmacist switches the drug with a TopCare OTC product, and it is adjudicated through the pharmacy and health plan, accordingly."

Topco’s health and beauty care program specializes in procuring health, beauty and personal care products under the TopCare brand, which represent $300 million in annual retail sales. Participating grocers include Giant Eagle, Harris Teeter, Hy-Vee, Meijer, Wegmans, Weis and Winn Dixie.
 

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Television fitness trainers to battle it out on the weight-loss shelf

BY Michael Johnsen

NEW YORK — Are you ready to ruuuuuumble?!

"Biggest Loser" trainer Bob Harper recently placed a diet aid opposite former "Biggest Loser" trainer Jillian Michaels on weight-loss shelves in what could become the battle royale of media-savvy weight-loss specialists. These products aren’t merchandised side-by-side, at least not at this CVS in Lebanon, Pa., but neither are Harper and Michaels on the same reality show anymore.

This fall, Harper will be coaching "Biggest Loser" contestants for the show’s 13th season on NBC, while Michaels has signed on as co-host of the syndicated "The Doctors" health advice program for the coming season.

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Par reports second-quarter earnings

BY Alaric DeArment

WOODCLIFF LAKE, N.J. — Par Pharmaceutical had sales of $224.2 million and profits of $9.05 million during second quarter 2011, the drug maker said Wednesday.

These compared with respective sales and second-quarter profits of $255.5 million and $18.4 million in second quarter 2010.

For the first six months of fiscal year 2011, the company had sales of $435.8 million and a loss of $99.9 million, compared with $537 million in sales and profits of $44.7 million during the first six months of 2010.

 

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