PHARMACY

PDX-Rx.com parent company names Farris CEO

BY Alaric DeArment

FORT WORTH, Texas A private company that provides software and services to more than 10,000 retail pharmacies in the United States has appointed a new CEO.

National Health Systems — the holding company of PDX, National Health Information Network, Rx.com, pc I and Freedom Data — appointed Jeff Farris to the position, succeeding Ken Hill, who was CEO for 32 years. Hill will remain chairman of the board.

Farris has served as president of the company for five years and will continue to serve as president and CEO. He began working for the company as a VP 16 years ago, having also served as CIO.

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PHARMACY

Pfizer discusses updated pipeline

BY Alaric DeArment

NEW YORK Pfizer’s acquisition of Wyeth appears to be paying off for the world’s largest drug maker.

Pfizer gave an update of its pipeline for the first time since the acquisition Wednesday, showing 133 drug-development programs in stages ranging from phase 1 to registration with regulatory authorities.

“The pipeline of investigational medicines represents the strong future of Pfizer,” president Martin Mackay of PharmaTherapeutics Research and Development, a branch of Pfizer, said in a statement. “Since the closing of the Wyeth transaction late last year, we have made strategic decisions about our R&D resources, global footprint and high-priority projects. Our focus now turns to delivery of these health solutions for patients around the world.”

The pipeline includes 30 compounds for cancer, 11 for inflammatory diseases, 10 for Alzheimer’s disease and eight for pain.

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Health Mart reaches 2,500 stores as it readies national ad campaign

BY Jim Frederick

SAN FRANCISCO Health Mart, the hard-charging independent pharmacy network owned by McKesson Corp., Wednesday celebrated a milestone: The addition of its 2,500th pharmacy. The announcement came roughly four years after the chain — which then numbered just 300 or so stores — unveiled plans to expand into a nationwide franchise pharmacy operation composed of McKesson’s strongest and most innovative pharmacy operators.

By any definition, that goal has been met. Health Mart now operates in all 50 states and, by its corporate parent’s reckoning, comprises the fourth-largest drug store network in the United States. The company has built a broad menu of clinically oriented health and wellness services for its customers, as well as a range of capabilities that give it some of the national branding, marketing and purchasing strengths of a corporate-owned pharmacy chain.

Among those strengths: A common and widely recognized national image at its 2,500 independently owned stores, third-party contracting and reimbursement services, centrally coordinated in-store merchandising programs, and growing clout in purchasing and promotions.

In line with that growth, Health Mart also announced it will launch a major national ad campaign at the end of the month. The campaign will debut with TV spots in 77 markets during the Grammy Awards telecast Jan. 31 on CBS, and will include multiple spots during the Super Bowl on CBS and NBC’s broadcast of the Winter Olympic Games from Vancouver. The campaign will conclude with ads during the Academy Awards telecast March 7 on ABC.

The TV ads will “highlight the personal care and services…such as diabetes counseling and testing” offered by Health Mart stores, according to the company. The campaign will feature 30- and 15-second commercials featuring a new Health Mart Town creative concept.

“Health Mart pharmacies focus on providing great customer service, as recognized by J.D. Power and Associates in 2009,” said Health Mart president Tim Canning. “This new advertising campaign highlights the emotional connection our pharmacists have with their customers, and it showcases that devotion to a national audience, while spotlighting the fact that Health Mart Pharmacies are practically everywhere.”

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