HEALTH

CVS/pharmacy’s fundraising for ALS rakes in $4.1 million

BY Antoinette Alexander

WOONSOCKET, R.I. CVS/pharmacy’s ninth annual in-store Researching a Cure fundraising campaign to support the fight against amyotrophic lateral sclerosis brought in $4.1 million in 21 days. The funds officially will be presented to the Boston-based ALS Therapy Alliance Friday evening prior to the Boston Red Sox-New York Yankees game at Fenway Park.

In addition, Treg Charlton, a 44-year-old CVS Caremark colleague who was diagnosed with ALS in March, accompanied by his wife Dianne and their two daughters, will throw out a ceremonial first pitch to raise awareness about the importance of funding ALS research in order to find a cure for the disease.

This donation brings the total amount raised by CVS/pharmacy colleagues and customers for ALS research over the last nine years to more than $23 million.

Charlton decided shortly after being diagnosed that he wasn’t going to sit on the sidelines while ALS began causing damage to his body. He served as this year’s honorary co-chair of the CVS/pharmacy Researching a Cure campaign and plans to stay active in advocating for funding for ALS research. “It’s the challenge of a lifetime, but also a tremendous opportunity to socialize the importance of pushing forward with ALS research to finally discover a cure for it, to deal with the disease in a positive manner and to share my love of life and my optimism for finding a cure, with others,” Charlton stated.

ALS is a disorder in which there is progressive degeneration of motor nerves in the brain and spinal cord leading to paralysis and death, typically within three to five years. There is no known cause or cure for ALS, which affects 25,000 Americans, with 5,000 new cases diagnosed each year.

Jon Roberts, CVS Caremark EVP and co-chair for the last nine years of CVS/pharmacy’s Researching a Cure campaign, stated, “It is the courage and determination of people like Treg who put a face to this debilitating disease, that continue to motivate CVS/pharmacy, its colleagues and its customers to raise funds for ALS research. Having lost a loved one myself to ALS, it is tremendously gratifying to see the success of this year’s campaign and to know that the funds raised are being applied to research conducted by the ALS Therapy Alliance.”

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FDA tentatively approves generic Crestor

BY Alaric DeArment

MUMBAI, India The Food and Drug Administration has given tentative approval to a generic cholesterol drug made by Sun Pharmaceutical Industries.

Sun announced Wednesday the tentative approval of rosuvastatin calcium tablets in the 5-mg, 10-mg, 20-mg and 40-mg strengths.

The drug is a generic version of AstraZeneca’s Crestor, which had annual sales of around $3.4 billion in the United States, according to Sun. Sun did not disclose when it would begin marketing its version of the drug, though Crestor will lose patent protection for use in adults in December 2021, according to FDA data.

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Walgreens names SVP pharmaceutical development, market access

BY Allison Cerra

DEERFIELD, Ill. Walgreens announced Thursday that Jeffrey Berkowitz, a former SVP at drug maker Merck, has joined the company.

Berkowitz will serve as Walgreens’ SVP pharmaceutical development and market access, responsible for the overall pharmacy contracting strategy for the company, both on the pharmaceutical manufacturing side and on the retail payer side, the drug store chain said. He will report to Walgreens’ pharmacy services president Kermit Crawford.

“As we continue our efforts to transform community pharmacy, Jeff will play a vital role in working with our partners in the pharmaceutical industry, and across the entire healthcare sector, to develop strategies in collaboration with our sales and services organization that will provide better adherence and clinical outcomes for patients,” Crawford said. “In addition, Jeff’s exceptional experience, expertise and track record of growth and success in the pharmaceutical industry will be important to further enhancing our pharmacy, health-and-wellness solutions.”

Prior to joining Walgreens, Berkowitz served as SVP global market access at Merck, part of the Merck global human health leadership team, responsible for all activity related to access, pricing, payer marketing, health outcomes and health technology assessments worldwide.

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