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Drugstore.com Soars in IPO

Drugstore.com Inc., Bellevue, WA, an online pharmacy had a stellar stock market debut yesterday as its shares surged more than 200 percent, closing at $50.25 after opening at $18 per share and hitting a peak of $69 during the day. The company, which operates what has become one of the most heavily trafficked online drugstores, had projected that the 5-million-share offering, representing about 11.7-percent of the company, would be priced between $9 and $11 per share, but boosted the price in the days before the offering.

The company is 25-percent owned by bricks-and-mortar drugstore chain Rite Aid Corp., Camp Hill, PA, and 29-percent owned by online retailer Amazon.com, Seattle.

Rival Soma.com, Seattle, was acquired by offline retailer CVS Corp. earlier this year, while another rival, PlanetRx, San Francisco, also is planning an initial public offering.

Meanwhile, the Oversight and Investigations Subcommittee of the U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Commerce has scheduled a hearing for this Friday to discuss Internet pharmacies.

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