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Medicure slowly bounces back

It's a little more than six years ago when shares in Medicure Inc. fell 85 per cent in one day, wiping out $89 million in value.

When the results of its 10-year, $100-million development of a new heart drug failed to meet the targets, the company was forced to reinvent itself.

It acquired the U.S. rights to an orphaned heart drug and since then it has been beating the bushes to get the drug, called Aggrastat, into more U.S. hospitals.

Last fall, it received U.S. regulatory approval for a new label dosage for the drug Dawson Reimer, the company president, said the company always believed was the most effective way to use it.

The new labelling worked and sales in the quarter ending Feb. 28, 2014 were $1.6 million, up 266 per cent compared to the year before.

"We said then (when it received approval to label the new dosage) it would grow sales," Reimer said. "I'm comfortable saying it's going better than any of us expected."

Aggrastat is part of a class of drugs used to treat heart-attack patients to stabilize them before physicians decide the next course of action.

Reimer said the old labelling regimen for Aggrastat precluded large dosages that would bring patients more quickly to the therapeutic level that current medical practice supports.

Small firms slightly more bullish

Confidence levels among Manitoba small business owners improved a bit in March after three months of steady declines, the Canadian Federation of Independent Business (CFIB) said Thursday.

The federation said Manitoba's Business Barometer Index climbed 2.7 points to 61.4 this month after dropping to 58.7 in February.

Despite the improvement, confidence levels remain below Manitoba's five-year average of 63.1 and below the national average of 64.1.

"It's good to see them (confidence levels) stabilizing. They had gone down nine points in three months," said Elliot Sims, the CFIB's director of provincial affairs for Manitoba.

"But at the same time, 65 to 70 (points) is when the Barometer shows you're growing at your potential," Sims added. "Sixty-one point four means you're probably growing a bit, but it's meagre in terms of what you could be doing.

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition March 28, 2014 B7

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