HEALTH

Novartis to close Alcon deal by year-end

BY Michael Johnsen

BASEL, Switzerland Novartis last week announced that it expects the closing of the transaction for 77% majority ownership of Alcon in late third quarter or fourth quarter of 2010.

Taking a step toward the closing, Novartis nominated five directors to replace the five Nestle nominated directors on the Alcon board. The nominees include:

  • Enrico Vanni, a chemical engineer who graduated from the Federal Polytechnic School of Lausanne, Switzerland and holds a PhD from the University of Lausanne. His background also includes an MBA from INSEAD in Fontainebleau, France. Vanni managed the Geneva Office of McKinsey & Co. from 1988 to 2004. His consulting activities mostly covered companies in the pharmaceutical, consumer and finance sectors. He was head of the European pharmaceutical practice for McKinsey & Co. and served as member of the partner review committee of the firm. Since 2008, he has worked as an independent consultant and a member of several company boards of directors;
  • Norman Walker earned a degree in Business Studies at the University of Brighton, U.K., in 1975 and attended the Harvard International Senior Management Program in 1994. He started his professional career with Ford Motor Co. in London, where he held a number of positions in human resources management. In 1991, Walker joined Kraft Foods and held a number of leading HR positions in Germany, the United States and Switzerland. From 1998 to 2003, he served as the Head of Corporate Human Resources of the Novartis Group;
  • Paul Choffat has held a number of senior leadership and management roles across industries, including numerous years in the pharmaceutical business. He holds a J.D. from the University of Lausanne, Switzerland, and an M.B.A. from the International Institute for Management Development in Lausanne, Switzerland. He started his professional career with Nestle. From 2002 to April 2007, Choffat served as head of Novartis Consumer Health;
  • Urs Baerlocher earned his J.D. from the University of Basel and was admitted to the bar in 1970. After working as a tax lawyer, he joined Sandoz, Basel, Switzerland, in 1973. Baerlocher held numerous senior leadership roles, including head of legal and tax affairs of the Novartis Group, until his retirement in summer 2007;
  • Jacques Seydoux is the medical director and chair of the department of Obstetrics and Gynecology Service at the State Hospital of Jura. He graduated with an M.D. from the University of Berne, Switzerland, in 1979. Seydoux is a member of numerous professional associations, including VP of the Swiss National Obstetrics and Gynecology Society and a member of the North American Menopause Society.

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Lake Consumer Products acquires Consumer Choice Systems

BY Allison Cerra

JACKSON, Wis. Lake Consumer Products on Wednesday announced its purchase of Consumer Choice Systems. The acquisition adds two urinary tract infection products to Lake Consumer Products’ female health offering: a UTI home screening test and maximum-strength UTI relief tablets.

The company also will take over all private-label agreements Consumer Choice Systems currently has in place with retailers.

“We’re very excited about adding UTI products to our female health offering for the first time,” stated Mike Kermendy, VP marketing for Lake Consumer Products. “These items are a perfect fit and really help advance our commitment to offering women everywhere a well-rounded array of female health solutions.”

Both the UTI home screening test stick and the UTI relief maximum strength tablets will continue to be available under the existing Woman’s Wellbeing brand in the immediate future.

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Continua Health Alliance advocates eCare use at House subcommittee meeting

BY Michael Johnsen

BEAVERTON, Ore. The Continua Health Alliance last week testified before the House Committee on Veterans Affairs Subcommittee on Health regarding the use of personal connected healthcare technologies to increase veteran access to quality health care.

Rick Cnossen, Continua president and chairman, advocated the use of eCare — a class of health information technologies that can facilitate any kind of virtual visit or electronic connectivity outside of traditional office visits — and personal connected healthcare devices that can provide lower-cost access to quality care.

“We are excited about Continua’s efforts to remove geographical barriers and provide efficient and affordable access to health care for veterans,” Cnossen said. “Personal connected health care offers many beneficial clinical capabilities, such as the ability to track vital signs and other important health data that can be shared with healthcare providers through secure systems on a regular basis, ultimately increasing the likelihood of catching health changes early and preventing illness. These are not currently available to the majority of rural-area veterans.”

Continua has made progress in the development of interoperable healthcare devices and services, but there still are barriers to integrating eCare into care plans, Cnossen noted. To ensure veterans and clinicians will receive full access to optimum health care, Continua recommended the House Committee on Veterans Affairs establish a federal organization focused on eCare, develop eCare payment reform, create blueprints for the use of eCare in states and communities, incorporate eCare as part of “meaningful use,” and make home broadband adoption for all Americans a top priority following recommendations in the FCC’s National Broadband Plan. If they are implemented, the Alliance’s recommendations will help guide the transition and adoption of eCare, making it available to U.S. veterans.

Continua Health Alliance is working to implement a system of care that enables personal connected health with an in-home or mobile broadband device that assists providers in tracking and trending healthcare data. The alliance seeks to help the nation harness the benefits of this technology to allow healthcare consumers and providers to use real-world, remotely collected data to make more informed healthcare decisions on a continual basis. This model helps empower individuals in their care, and allows caregivers to intervene as needed for more effective and efficient care.

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