CVS Caremark appoints new president of PBM business

WOONSOCKET, R.I. CVS Caremark has appointed Generation Health president and CEO Per G.H. Lofberg to serve as president of its PBM business, effective Jan. 4. In addition, CVS Caremark has increased its investment in Generation Health - both clear signs that CVS Caremark is bolstering its commitment to personalized medicine.

Lofberg succeeds Howard McClure, who retired as president on Nov. 27. Tom Ryan, chairman, president and CEO of CVS Caremark, had announced plans to hire a replacement by year-end and told attendees during a recent Credit Suisse Healthcare Conference in Arizona that he was “focusing on someone from the outside” and “who understands the PBM business and understands the nuances of the PBM business.”

Lofberg has more than 30 years of experience in health care and the PBM industry, including the role of chairman for Merck-Medco Managed Care LLC, which later became Medco Health Solutions. He currently serves as president as president and CEO of Generation Health.

“Per is widely respected in the PBM and healthcare industry. He brings a wealth of experience in working with key clients to understand the needs of the marketplace and produce meaningful results. His expertise, along with his demonstrated ability to executive growth strategies, makes him the perfect person to guide our PBM in the evolving health care environment,” stated Ryan.

Last month, CVS Caremark and Generation Health announced a strategic partnership to expand pharmacogenomic (PGx) clinical and testing services for CVS Caremark PBM clients. As part of the expanded partnership, CVS Caremark made a minority equity investment in Generation Health. Now, CVS Caremark is increasing its ownership interest in the genetic benefit management company. Financial details of CVS Caremark’s additional investment were not disclosed.

Generation Health will continue to operate as an independent, separate business from CVS Caremark offering a full range of GBM services to healthcare payers. CVS Caremark will have financial and strategic ties to the company, and will be represented on its board of directors.

Succeeding Lofberg as president and CEO of Generation Health is company co-founder, Rick Schatzberg. Schatzberg will also serve as a member of the company?s board of directors.

The PGx clinical services resulting from the partnership are expected to be introduced to CVS Caremark's PBM clients in the second quarter 2010.

“With this additional investment in Generation Health we are accelerating our commitment to personalized medicine and making genomic benefit management an integral part of our PBM offering,” stated Ryan. “We believe there will be a growing opportunity to tailor pharmaceutical treatment to patients based on genetic patterns. This investment expands our clinical capabilities to improve pharmacy health care and is consistent with our integrated approach to help save payers and patients’ time and money while improving health outcomes.”

Until recently, medications have been developed with the idea that each drug works basically the same for everyone. However, genome research has thrown the cookie-cutter approach out the window and has opened the door for personalized medicine. Combining the science of how drugs work, or pharmacology, with the science of the human genome, or genomics, pharmacogenomics uses information about a person’s genetic makeup to select the drugs and drug doses that are likely to work best for that particular person.

Not only can PGx help reduce overall medical costs for clients by determining which treatments will be most effective for a particular patient, but it also helps avoid potential health hazards. Medical studies have found that in some cases patients get little benefit or even face harmful and costly side effects from medications they take.

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