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CVS’ Foulkes named vice chairwoman of R.I.’s EDC board

BY Michael Johnsen

PROVIDENCE, R.I. — Rhode Island Gov. Lincoln Chafee last week appointed Helena Foulkes, EVP and chief marketing officer for CVS Caremark, to the R.I. Economic Development Corp. board of directors, according to published reports.

Foulkes will serve as vice chairwoman of the EDC board. She is the first female to serve in this capacity.

Also named to the board were information technology expert Jack Templin, co-founder of the Providence Geeks and RI Nexus; Providence developer Stanley Weiss, founder of the Hotel Providence; and Central Falls real estate developer and manager Jerauld Adams.

The appointments are subject to the review and consent of the Senate.

Foulkes last year had been named to Chafee’s transition committee and had sat on a panel at Chafee’s budget summit at Rhode Island College in December 2010.

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CyberScholar Retail Network rolled out at Costco

BY Alaric DeArment

LOS ANGELES — Warehouse mass merchandiser Costco will use an online portal to increase in-store product knowledge and enhance shoppers’ experiences.

Shopper marketing agency Creative Channel Services announced Tuesday that Costco would use its CyberScholar Retail Network and had integrated it into its U.S. employee-development strategies for consumer electronics products.

The program gives Costco employees at 414 stores easy access to learning modules from manufacturers of cameras, GPS devices, home theaters, televisions and other products, and delivers those modules through one portal, allowing employees to deliver information to customers.

“Creative Channel Services is proud to deliver our CyberScholar Retail Network product-knowledge resources to Costco employees,” CCS president and CEO Andy Restivo said. “This partnership is a win-win-win, as the benefits extend from manufacturers to Costco’s employees and, most importantly, to Costco members.”

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FDA declines to approve Contrave

BY Alaric DeArment

SAN DIEGO — The Food and Drug Administration has turned down an application for an anti-obesity drug.

Orexigen Therapeutics and Takeda Pharmaceutical said Tuesday that the FDA had issued a complete response letter for their application for Contrave (naltrexone hydrochloride and bupropion hydrochloride) extended-release tablets.

The FDA issues a complete response letter when it has finished reviewing the regulatory application for a drug, but questions remain that preclude final approval. In this case, the agency had concerns about cardiovascular safety risks in patients using the drug over the long term. The FDA said the companies must conduct a trial of “sufficient size and duration” to show that the cardiovascular risks of the drug don’t outweigh its benefits.

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