Integrating health solutions for payers, Walgreens unifies pharmacy, wellness, led by Crawford
DEERFIELD, Ill. Walgreens’ long campaign to overhaul and integrate its pharmacy and clinical health components culminated Monday in the company’s announcement that it had restructured 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.
“In the past several years, Walgreens has developed a broad set of … accessible pharmacy, health and wellness services unmatched in our industry,” president and CEO Greg Wasson said. “We are now aligning these services across the entire company, enabling us to provide services to payers as a single, seamless integrated solution.
“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,” he added.
The changes are wide-ranging and include shifts in management. Among them:
- 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 EVP Kermit Crawford.
- Walgreens has created a new, combined “Pharmacy, Health and Wellness Solutions” sales and client services organization. The group will be led by Joe Terrion, who has been chief client officer in charge of sales and service in the health and wellness division. 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.
Wasson praised Blaylock, noting, “Walgreens has been fortunate to have Stan’s leadership and industry experience at a time when we greatly expanded our specialty and home care businesses. He helped to nurture and grow these businesses with a relentless client focus into mature entities, where they can now be fully integrated into our pharmacy operations.”
Walgreens’ chief executive also noted the strong leadership provided by Crawford and Rosenbluth.
“Kermit and Hal will bring together all our pharmacy, health and wellness services and take them to the marketplace as a single, robust integrated offering,” he said. “Kermit’s 27 years of experience and strong leadership at Walgreens will ensure that we provide premier service, cohesively and comprehensively across our full range of pharmacy operations. And Hal’s strength and decades of experience in leading B2B sales and service organizations will enable us to meet or exceed our clients’ expectations for integrated pharmacy, health and wellness solutions.”
At its essence, the restructuring is an attempt by Walgreens to integrate and bring to bear all of its more than 8,000 “points of care,” on behalf of employers, government and managed care. The new Pharmacy, Health and Wellness Solutions business will draw on all the company’s health-provider assets, including:
- More than 7,100 retail pharmacies
- More than 100 medical campus pharmacies
- Specialty and infusion pharmacy service
- Mail-service pharmacy and long-term care pharmacy
- Preventive health and wellness services, including retail and worksite health centers and immunization services, home medical equipment and supplies, respiratory services and chronic care management
- Pharmacy benefit administrative services, including integrated reporting and outcomes analysis
The result, 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.
Report: Lawmakers seek to revise patent system
NEW YORK Lawmakers in Washington have taken steps to reform the U.S. patent system, according to published reports.
Reuters reported Thursday that Senate Judiciary Committee chairman Sen. Patrick Leahy, D-Vt., and other members Congress had reached an agreement on patent reform, introducing a bill that would allow the patent office to set its own fees and allow judges decide the importance of an infringed patent as part of a product.
Drug companies, which depend on small numbers of patents, have opposed the effort, while large computer and hardware companies have supported it, Reuters reported.
KV’s Ethex to plead guilty to criminal charges
ST. LOUIS The generic drug marketing and distribution division of KV Pharmaceuticals will plead guilty to criminal charges and close shop under a deal between KV and the Department of Justice, KV announced Thursday.
The generic drug maker said Ethex will plead guilty to two felony counts and pay $27.6 million to resolve a criminal investigation of the company that began amid allegations that it failed to file field alerts to inform regulators of manufacturing problems with the drugs dextroamphetamine and propafenone in 2008. The payment includes a fine, $2.3 million in restitution to the federal government and an administrative forfeiture of $1.8 million.
“This settlement marks an important milestone in our efforts to restore normalized business operations at KV, regain full regulatory and legal compliance and set KV on a new path moving forward,” KV interim CEO David Van Vliet said in a statement. “Management and the board have been working diligently to address this issue, and we are looking forward to having this matter resolved.”
Ethex recalled a large number of generic drugs in late 2008 and early 2009 due to problems such as possibly oversized tablets and manufacturing deficiencies. In March 2009, the Food and Drug Administration filed an injunction against KV to prevent it from making or distributing adulterated and unapproved drugs and forced it to destroy all the drugs it had recalled, forbidding it from resuming manufacturing until the FDA was satisfied that it had been brought back into compliance with regulations. KV said the current settlement would allow it to continue manufacturing once it had regained compliance with the FDA’s current good manufacturing practices regulations, also known as cGMP.