UPDATE 3-Jean Coutu profit rises 10 pct on generic drug business

Thu Jan 10, 2013 12:11pm EST
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* Profit C$0.26/share vs C$0.23 year earlier

* Revenue up 2 pct at C$716.6 mln

* Same-store sales rise 2.6 pct

* Shares rise 2 pct on Toronto Stock Exchange

Jan 10 (Reuters) - Jean Coutu Group Inc reported a 10 percent increase in quarterly profit on strong sales of its Pro Doc generic drugs and the prospect of further gains, sending shares of the Canadian pharmacy chain higher on Thursday.

Sales at Coutu's Pro Doc generic subsidiary rose 12 percent to C$41.4 million ($41.9 million) for the fiscal third quarter that ended Dec. 1, and its contribution to its parent's operating income before amortization rose to C$16.1 million from C$15.4 million a year ago.

Spending on Pro Doc products could rise further, the company said, under a change in Quebec's prescription drug policies.

The province is abolishing the "15-year rule" under which public prescription plans covered the cost of newly listed branded drugs for a full 15 years, even after cheaper generic versions were available.

Chief Executive Francois Coutu said on a conference call that the change would affect 62 drugs starting next week. It may prompt more customers to buy Pro Doc generics.   Continued...