Magnacca promoted to Walgreens EVP post
DEERFIELD, Ill. — Walgreens on Friday promoted Joseph Magnacca to EVP from SVP, effective immediately. Magnacca also retains his title as president of daily living products and solutions.
“Joe plays a critical role in our strategy to step out of the traditional drug store channel and deliver the ‘Well Experience’ to our customers,” stated Greg Wasson, Walgreens president and CEO. “We want that customer experience to be unmatched in the industry, and Joe is helping to bring it to life through leading-edge store design, enhanced products and services and increased customer delight. His exceptional strategic market focus means we are now better positioned than ever to meet the daily living needs of our customers.”
Magnacca has been credited by many for helping to transform what the drug store as a shopping channel meant to New Yorkers with Duane Reade and later, Walgreens. “Drug, particularly in the United States, was an area that had seen very little advancement over the last several decades, both in the format and the content,” Magnacca told DSN in a candid and wide-ranging discussion on retailing and his vision for store and content development. “Even though at Walgreens, there had been some pretty major advancements, those had been primarily pharmacy-based," he said. “What I saw when I was in Canada was an opportunity … to move away from being primarily a very specific, needs-driven reason to shop and become a place where people want to shop,” Magnacca continued. “Here in the United States, and in Canada, we had become focused mainly on size and replicating the existing model — and doing a great job of it, getting the best corners in America. But even more importantly, it was basically a pharmacy-led model.”
Magnacca’s influence on shaping the experience of today’s retail pharmacy shopper is perhaps most evident across Walgreens flagship locations, the most recent of which was opened in Los Angeles. There is a big-picture thought process behind each of these new flagship iterations. No two are the same. And the only other brightly colored common thread linking each of the locations — beyond the recurring theme of "local" — is that big-picture thought behind each new store — to be customers’ first choice for health and daily living. "It’s about being different from everything else out there in the market; it’s about giving customers every imaginable option for how they could shop your brand, and then imagining a few more; it’s about making customers rethink how they shop the drug store and what they shop it for," wrote editor-in-chief Rob Eder, following DSN‘s exclusive interview with Walgreens’ flagship director Joe Magnacca.
Walgreens operates flagship stores in New York, Las Vegas, Puerto Rico, Chicago and now Los Angeles. One in Boston is scheduled to open in the spring.
Magnacca oversees Walgreens merchandising and inventory strategy, private brands, insights and analytics, and the New York-based Duane Reade drug store chain, which Walgreens acquired in 2010. A retail industry veteran of more than 20 years, Magnacca joined Duane Reade in 2008 as SVP and chief merchandising officer. He was later promoted to EVP at Duane Reade and then to president of the drug store chain following its acquisition by Walgreens. He was named Walgreens president of daily living products and solutions in 2011.
Earlier in his career, Magnacca served as VP marketing and merchandising for Loblaw, a leading food distributer and provider of general merchandise products and services in Canada, and as EVP merchandising and category management for Shoppers Drug Mart, the largest drug chain in Canada.
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Armada to launch new specialty pharmacy organization at annual summit
FLORHAM PARK, N.J. — Armada Health Care will launch a new association of specialty pharmacy at its upcoming annual summit, the specialty pharmacy services company said Thursday.
Armada, a group purchasing and contracting organization, announced the formation of the Specialty Pharmacy Association of America, or SPAARx, which it will launch at the ninth annual Armada Specialty Pharmacy Summit in Las Vegas on May 6. Armada said it was forming the group in response to an "overwhelming volume of requests" from various stakeholders asking for the company to help fill what it called a void in the marketplace.
The group will be neutral to all industry vendors and governed by a board of directors comprising executives form a diverse group of specialty pharmacies and related organizations.
"Over the past several months, numerous industry stakeholders have encouraged Armada to take the lead and create a new, industry-aligned association for specialty pharmacy," Armada CEO Lawrence Irene said. "After much consideration, we responded with the plan to utilize our annual summit as the springboard to develop and grow the new association. We see this as a natural progression for the evolution of our annual conference as it continues to grow. The reputation, size and scope of our annual conference will give the new association instant credibility in the marketplace. It is the perfect venue as it provides a neutral and unified focal point for the rapidly expanding specialty pharmacy industry."
Armada said summit attendees would be invited to join the new association as charter members, and it will ultimately include thousands of individual members, specialty pharmacy corporations and other related industry organizations from all 50 states. The company said the group’s goal would be to promote the common business interests of the industry while fostering opportunities within it.
NCPA and three Oregon legislators push for greater oversight, transparency of PBMs
ALEXANDRIA, Va. — The National Community Pharmacists Association on Wednesday urged Oregon state lawmakers to pass a series of bills that would "collectively reduce red tape for pharmacists caring for patients, give consumers greater pharmacy choice at no extra cost, and keep more revenue within the state."
NCPA has identified four issues of import:
- The first is setting reasonable standards for pharmacy audits to protect against fraud without abusing the system. According to NCPA, audits claim thousands of dollars from Oregon pharmacists and small business owners even when the correct medication is dispensed to the correct customer for the correct price. Recently, 22 different states have passed audit reform legislation, the association noted;
- Second, legislation that would focus on freeing patients from requirements that use out-of-state mail order pharmacies by allowing them to transfer their prescription to a local pharmacy that agrees to accept the same terms and conditions, including reimbursement rates. This legislation is similar to that adopted in the last legislative sessions in both New York and Pennsylvania. National consumer surveys conducted by J.D. Power and Associates, Consumer Reports and others have documented patients’ preference and higher satisfaction rates with local pharmacies, NCPA noted;
- Third, maximum allowable costs are the system PBMs use to determine how much they will reimburse pharmacies, mostly for generic prescription drugs that comprise 80% of what is dispensed to patients. Unfortunately, pharmacies are kept in the dark about the pricing changes for these products, NCPA stated. "Thus, these small business providers are ‘flying blind’ in terms of taking into account the operating costs of their prescription drug inventory. The legislative remedy would allow pharmacists simply to know how the MACs are determined and make sure that timely updates are made to reflect market prices."; and
- Fourth, NCPA is addressing the lack of transparency in PBM contracting practices. "Health plan sponsors and patients are left in the dark about the validity and soundness of how their prescription drug benefits are being administered. Greater transparency into this often secretive and byzantine sector can facilitate better evaluation of PBM performance."
Spear-heading the effort is State Rep. Jules Bailey, D-Portland, who has organized a bipartisan working group with State Reps. Jim Thompson, R-Dallas, and Margaret Doherty, D-Tigard, to generate consensus solutions.
“My interests in this legislation come from listening to my constituents,” Bailey stated. “Patients tell me about their maddening experiences navigating the PBM bureaucracy to get vital prescription drugs at a reasonable price and in a timely fashion. Pharmacists tell me about how PBMs squeeze them to the breaking point as a result of the onerous, take-it-or-leave-it contracts they must sign to have access to patients and about abusive PBM audit practices. The universal complaint is that the current system is broken," he said. "When people learn about all the questionable business tactics PBMs are allowed to employ on a daily basis without any accountability they are amazed. … While regulation for regulation’s sake is not a panacea, the utter lack of regulation when it comes to the PBM industry must end. I hope my fellow legislators, the governor and people of Oregon will join us in demanding reform. Without these proactive steps patients, health plan sponsors and pharmacies will continue to get the short end of the stick.”
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