PHARMACY

Ginger Graham becomes Walgreens’ 10th board member

BY Allison Cerra

DEERFIELD, Ill. Ginger Graham, president and CEO of Two Trees Consulting, will become Walgreens’ 10th board member and serve as an independent director, effective May 1.

Graham has more than 20 years of experience in health care, including pharmaceuticals, medical devices and biotechnology. Prior to founding Two Trees Consulting in 2008, Graham was president and CEO of biopharmaceutical company Amylin, which mainly focuses on treatments for diabetes and obesity. Graham also serves on the boards of directors for Genomic Health, Proteus Biomedical Pharmaceutical Systems Division, ICAT Managers and the American Diabetes Association Research Foundation where she serves as vice chair.

“We value the experience and insight from Ginger’s career-long focus in developing strategies to bring innovative healthcare solutions to the market,” said Walgreens chairman Alan McNally. “We look forward to the contributions she will make as the company plays an even larger role in meeting the nation’s need for greater access to quality, affordable health care.”

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FDA tentatively approves Sun’s Namenda generic

BY Alaric DeArment

MUMBAI, India The Food and Drug Administration has given tentative approval to a generic Alzheimer’s disease drug made by Sun Pharmaceutical Industries, Sun announced Saturday.

The FDA gave the tentative approval to Sun’s memantine tablets in the 5-mg and 10-mg strengths. The drug is a generic version of Forest Labs’ Namenda, which has annual U.S. sales of around $1.2 billion, according to Sun.

A tentative approval means that a generic drug meets the FDA’s conditions for approval, but the agency cannot grant final approval until the branded drug’s patents expire. Forest’s patent for Namenda expires in April 2015, according to FDA data.

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Meijer offering free metformin to customers

BY Allison Cerra

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. Meijer announced plans Monday to begin offering metformin immediate release, one of the most commonly prescribed treatments for Type 2 diabetes, at no cost to those with a prescription.

Meijer’s program — which will include doses prescribed in 500-mg, 850-mg and 1,000-mg tablets — joins other Meijer healthy-living initiatives designed to provide no-cost medicine to shoppers, including such initiatives as free children’s antibiotics and prenatal vitamins for women with a prescription. To date, Meijer has filled more than 5 million free antibiotic prescriptions, and more than 500,000 prescriptions for free prenatal vitamins. Combined, Meijer has provided a total cost savings to consumers of more than $90 million.

Meijer is one of several store chains that recently has announced free metformin offerings for customers. Last month, Publix launched a multifaceted program designed to assist customers and associates living with diabetes.

“Meijer is pleased to add metformin immediate release to our free medication program,” said Effie Steele, clinical services coordinator for the Grand Rapids, Mich.-based retailer. “As our population ages, Type 2 diabetes cases continue to grow. Adding metformin immediate release to Meijer’s free medication program, while providing other ways to manage diabetes through the various healthy living solutions offered in our stores, reinforces our commitment to promote healthy lifestyles for all of our customers.”

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