PHARMACY

Crawford leads Walgreens in unifying pharmacy, wellness

BY Jim Frederick

DEERFIELD, Ill. —Walgreens’ long campaign to overhaul and integrate its pharmacy and clinical health components culminated March 1 in the restructuring of its healthcare divisions to create a unified pharmacy, health and wellness solution. That solution, Walgreens reported, is tailored to meet the needs of employers, managed care organizations, pharmacy benefit managers and government clients searching for more cost-effective care for their health plan members. And that group is led by EVP Kermit Crawford.

“Simply put, we are integrating Walgreens’ 70,000 healthcare providers, on the front lines of health care across the organization, with a unified sales team offering pharmacy, health and wellness solutions for the benefit of our payer clients and their patients,” president and CEO Greg Wasson said.

The changes are wide-ranging and include shifts in management. Walgreens’ health services division’s specialty pharmacy, infusion pharmacy, mail-service pharmacy, medical campus pharmacies, long-term care pharmacy and home care services will move to the company’s core pharmacy division, which is led by Crawford.

Walgreens has created a new, combined “Pharmacy, Health and Wellness Solutions” sales and client services organization. Joe Terrion, who has been chief client officer in charge of sales and service in the health-and-wellness division, will lead the group. Terrion will continue to report to Hal Rosenbluth, Walgreens’ SVP and president of health and wellness.

Peter Hotz, president of Walgreens’ Take Care Health Employer Solutions group, will oversee the Walgreens Health Initiatives pharmacy benefit management unit.

In line with the overhaul, Walgreens Health Services president Stan Blaylock will leave the company in April, following a transition period, to pursue “new entrepreneurial opportunities in the healthcare field,” the company noted. Blaylock was a co-founder and CEO of Medmark Specialty Pharmacy Solutions before the company was acquired by Walgreens in 2006.

In total, the result of the changes, according to Wasson, will be “a unified offering to payers in the healthcare marketplace,” as well as increased efficiencies across Walgreens’ pharmacy, health and wellness operations. The reorganization also will “provide savings in overhead as some overlapping functions are consolidated,” the company noted.

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PHARMACY

Late-stage clinical trial of Avastin fails to meet expectations, Genentech says

BY Alaric DeArment

SOUTH SAN FRANCISCO, Calif. A late-stage clinical trial of a Genentech drug for men with late-stage prostate cancer has failed, the biotech company announced Friday.

Genentech, part of Swiss drug maker Roche, announced that a phase 3 trial of Avastin (bevacizumab) combined with prednisone and the chemotherapy drug docetaxel did not extend the amount of time that patients survived, compared with chemotherapy and prednisone alone.

The drug already has approval from the Food and Drug Administration for treating tumors and cancers of the lungs, colon, rectum, breasts, kidneys and brain.

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Abbott’s submits supplemental approval application for Lupron Depot to FDA

BY Alaric DeArment

ABBOTT PARK, Ill. Abbott is hoping that the Food and Drug Administration will approve one of its drugs as a treatment for advanced prostate cancer.

The Chicago-based drug maker announced Thursday that the FDA accepted its supplemental approval application for Lupron Depot (leuprolide acetate) in the 45-mg strength. The drug, an injectable, works by suppressing production of testosterone for six months. It is currently available in 7.5-mg, 22.5-mg and 30-mg formulations that work for one, three and four months.

“For many patients with advanced prostate cancer, Lupron Depot is an important treatment option because it can help manage the symptoms of their disease,” Abbott VP global pharmaceutical development Eugene Sun said in a statement. “Abbott is seeking approval for a new six-month formulation to provide greater convenience and dosing flexibility to physicians and patients who could benefit form this medication.”

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