Chong Bang, Walgreens’ CCR guru, leaving to join Shoppers Drug Mart
Walgreens on Wednesday confirmed that Chong Bang, the merchandising executive in charge of the company’s vaunted Customer Centric Retailing initiative, will leave the company to take a position with Toronto-based Shoppers Drug Mart. His effective departure date is Dec. 18.
Bang, a five-year Walgreens merchandising veteran, is currently a divisional VP and general merchandise manager in charge of the customer-centric program, photo and the additional front-end services offered at the photo department in Walgreens’ stores. He rose to prominence last fall with his appointment as head of CCR, a sweeping and even revolutionary project aimed at pulling together the chain’s sprawling marketing and merchandising activities and focusing them more sharply on meeting and anticipating customer demands. The effort has led to a significant reduction in the SKU count and product redundancies in Walgreens’ store prototype, a major realignment of categories and adjacencies at the front end, and an ongoing effort to align the chain’s purchasing and store presentation with localized consumer demand.
Bang was once described by former Walgreens chairman and CEO Jeff Rein as “a sharp, creative, humble and extremely approachable manager,” and his leadership will likely be missed at the 7,100-store retail giant. Nevertheless, said company spokesperson Tiffani Washington, “We have a deep bench of folks dedicated to CCR and its rollout, and that team will continue to work toward having about 3,000 stores converted to CCR in fiscal 2010.”
In an interview Wednesday, she added, “We appreciate all that Chong has done for the company over the last five years, and we wish him and his family well in his new position.”
In line with the massive renewal effort that began at Walgreens in the fall of 2008, Bang oversaw the development of the CCR project, its initial test in some 35 Walgreens units in several markets, and its expansion to some 400 stores in 2009, most of them in Dallas and Houston. That rollout will dramatically accelerate next year, Washington noted.
“We’re evaluating the findings from the Texas stores and will do some tweaking,” she told Drug Store News Wednesday. “We’ll continue the rollout [of the CCR-based store overhaul program] starting in January.”
Washington said it is not yet clear whether a single executive will replace Bang as divisional VP in charge of CCR. “Obviously,” she said, “that falls within the merchandising team under [VP merchandising] Bryan Pugh, and he has a deep bench of people working on extending the rollout.”
Industry coalition reissues advisory against use of dietary supplements as swine flu remedy, cure
WASHINGTON The trade associations of the dietary supplement industry on Monday reiterated its criticism for those companies or individuals promoting any dietary supplement as a treatment or cure for the novel H1N1 influenza virus.
According to federal statutes, no dietary supplement can be promoted to cure, prevent or mitigate any disease. What’s more, the associations noted, there are no scientific data currently published that would suggest any supplement would work in curing or preventing the H1N1 flu.
To date, as many as 147 warning letters have been issued by the Food and Drug Administration and the Federal Trade Commission since May to companies marketing products — from air filters and face masks to shampoos and supplements — for prevention or cure of H1N1 flu. The American Herbal Products Association, the Consumer Healthcare Products Association, the Council for Responsible Nutrition, the Natural Products Association and the United Natural Products Alliance are therefore re-releasing the following unified advisory for marketers and retailers, as well as for consumers of dietary supplements:
Marketers and retailers of dietary supplements are urged to refuse to stock or sell any supplements that are presented as treating or curing H1N1. In addition, marketers and retailers should refrain from promoting any dietary supplement as a cure or treatment for H1N1.
PricewaterhouseCoopers: Personalized medicine market to grow 11% annually
NEW YORK Personalized medicine, which targets individualized treatment and care based on personal and genetic variation, is creating a booming market, but is a disruptive innovation that will create both opportunities and challenges for traditional health care and emerging market participants, according to a new report published by PricewaterhouseCoopers.
The report, The Science of Personalized Medicine: Translating the Promise into Practice, projects that the market for a more personalized approach to health and wellness will grow to as much as $452 billion by 2015. PricewaterhouseCoopers’ estimates are based on a broad view of the market opportunity beyond drugs and devices to also include demand for high-tech storage and data-sharing as well as low-tech products and services aimed at consumers’ heightened awareness of their own health risks.
“Medical science and technological advancement have converged with the growing emphasis on health, wellness and prevention sweeping the country to push personalized medicine to a tipping point,” said David M. Levy, M.D., global healthcare leader, PricewaterhouseCoopers. “We are now seeing a blurring of the lines between traditional healthcare offerings and consumer-oriented wellness products and services. The market potential is enormous for any company that learns to leverage the science, target individuals and develop products and services that promote health.”
The promise of personalized medicine has been predicated upon genomic testing, which enables physicians to identify an individual’s susceptibility to disease, predict how a given patient will respond to a particular drug, eliminate unnecessary treatments, reduce the incidence of adverse reactions to drugs, increase the efficacy of treatments and, ultimately, improve health outcomes.
“There is an urgent need to increase the value of health care, but we can’t get there by fixing the health care of yesterday. We need to replace our current focus on treating disease with a better approach that is personalized, preventive, predictive and participatory, the basic tenants of personalized medicine,” said Gerald McDougall, principal in charge of personalized medicine and health sciences, PricewaterhouseCoopers. “Greater collaboration around personalized medicine should be a key strategy for health reform.”