PHARMACY

Merlo officially takes helm at CVS

BY Antoinette Alexander

WOONSOCKET, R.I. — As previously announced and widely reported, March 1 marks the day that Larry Merlo officially assumes the role of CEO of CVS Caremark. Merlo, who now serves as president and CEO, succeeds Tom Ryan, who remains nonexecutive chairman until his retirement at the company’s annual meeting of shareholders in May.

Upon Ryan’s retirement as chairman in May, the company intends to elect CVS Caremark board member David Dorman as the next nonexecutive chairman at the 2011 annual meeting. Dorman has been on the CVS Caremark board of directors since 2006.

"After more than 20 years, I know this organization, its values and our people’s passion for serving our customers," Merlo stated. "We are building on a strong foundation. CVS Caremark is the leader in providing integrated pharmacy health care. No one else has our combination of the largest chain of retail stores, a leading [pharmacy benefit manager], the fastest-growing retail health clinics and a strong track record of healthcare innovation."

"We are now focused on delivering the promise of our integrated pharmacy healthcare model. We will more fully leverage our unique combination of assets by maximizing the potential of our pharmacy benefit management business, sustaining our retail leadership, continuing innovation to create new healthcare solutions and more consistently delivering financial and operational excellence," Merlo added. "The entire CVS Caremark team is committed to delivering these results."

Merlo, a pharmacist by training with more than 30 years in pharmacy health, joined CVS/pharmacy in 1990 through the company’s acquisition of Peoples Drug. He has played a key role in the evolution of the company and has an impressive track record of integrating major acquisitions. Under Merlo’s leadership, CVS completed some of the most successful acquisitions in the history of retail pharmacy, including Longs Drug stores, Osco/Sav-on, Eckerd and Revco, and delivered significant organic growth in major markets across the country.

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Study: Physicians more likely to prescribe Rxs with adherence incentives

BY Alaric DeArment

NEW YORK — Physicians are 30% more likely to prescribe a drug that gives patients incentives to remain adherent to it than they are to prescribe a drug without such a program, according to a new survey.

The survey of 100 doctors, sponsored by HealthPrize Technologies and conducted by pharmaceutical marketing firm HealthcarePanel.org, also found 89% of doctors were comfortable with the idea of rewarding patients for adherence, along with using education.

HealthPrize is an Internet and mobile-based adherence platform that uses behavioral economics and gaming dynamics to encourage medication adherence with things like sweepstakes, financial rewards, prizes, education and quizzes.

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Amid shortage, Walgreens compounds Tamiflu

BY Allison Cerra

DEERFIELD, Ill. — Walgreens said its pharmacies are prepared to compound Tamiflu capsules into liquid form after the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported widespread flu activity in the United States.

The drug store chain said it is addressing the demand for liquid Tamiflu for children, which has resulted in a shortage of the flu-fighting drug.

“These are the highest levels of flu activity health officials have seen this season,” said Kermit Crawford, Walgreens president of pharmacy services. “For people who get sick and who are prescribed an antiviral drug like Tamiflu, it’s best if started within the first 48 hours. With the shortage of liquid Tamiflu for children, we’ve taken proactive measures to ensure our pharmacists can compound these prescriptions, and many have already begun doing so. In addition, we continue to offer flu shots at all of our stores and Take Care Clinics every day.”

The CDC recently disclosed that 44 states have reported flu activity.

All Walgreens and Take Care Clinics continue to offer flu shots daily with no appointment necessary, the drug store chain said.

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