PHARMACY

Pennsylvania Pharmacy Council expresses opposition of planned ESI-Medco merger

BY Allison Cerra

CAMP HILL, Pa. — The merger between pharmacy benefit managers Express Scripts and Medco Health Solutions "could bring an end to community-based pharmacies and the convenient services provided there," according to the Pennsylvania Pharmacy Council.

The PPC — a partner council of the Pennsylvania Food Merchants Association, a statewide trade association representing more than 1,100 retail food stores, and represents the legislative and regulatory interests of in-supermarket pharmacies — said the concentrated market share would give ESI and Medco "unprecedented power" to drive business away from community pharmacies and toward the PBMs’ mail-order businesses.

"Community pharmacists are accessible health providers that patients see regularly for medications and for personalized counseling," PPC SVP Randy St. John said. "They work in concert with other health professionals to ensure that patients receive the services they need to prevent illness or to get well. But the proposed Medco-ESI merger could bring an end to community-based pharmacies and the convenient services provided there."

PPC is one of several organizations that have recently spoken out in opposition of the merger, which would unite two of the three largest PBMs in the country.


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FDA approves Mylan chemoprotective agent

BY Alaric DeArment

PITTSBURGH — The Food and Drug Administration has approved a generic drug made by Mylan for cancer patients.

Mylan announced Monday the approval of dexrazoxane for injection, a generic version of Pharmacia & Upjohn’s Zinecard. The drug is a chemoprotective agent, used to protect healthy tissue from cancer drugs.

Various versions of the drug had sales of $3.4 million during the 12-month period ended in September, according to IMS Health.

 

 


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Walgreens’ Kang joins National Committee for Quality Assurance board

BY Michael Johnsen

DEERFIELD, Ill. — The National Committee for Quality Assurance on Monday named Jeffrey Kang, Walgreens SVP pharmacy, health and wellness services and solutions, to its board.

NCQA is a private nonprofit organization that accredits and certifies a wide range of healthcare organizations. The group also recognizes clinicians and practices in key areas of performance. NCQA’s Healthcare Effectiveness Data and Information Set is the most widely used performance measurement tool in health care, the committee stated.

The NCQA board governs NCQA and is composed of 15 members and the NCQA president. The board includes clinicians, public policy experts, purchasers, consumer advocates and leaders of health systems. Its multistakeholder perspective supports a focus on improving healthcare quality by emphasizing transparency and delivery system reform.

"Jeff Kang’s thoughtful leadership and broad experience improving quality make him a great addition to the NCQA board," stated NCQA president Margaret O’Kane. "I look forward to working with him, and I know he will make vital contributions to NCQA’s governance."

In his current role contributing to Walgreens’ mission to help its customers live well, stay well and get well, Kang is responsible for the company’s overall pharmacy, health and wellness strategy; outcomes and analytics; Take Care Clinics and worksite health-and-wellness centers; health systems solutions group; and 340B program.

Before joining Walgreens in October 2011, Kang was chief medical officer at CIGNA from 2002 to 2011, where he was responsible for the company’s health strategy and policy for its medical, pharmacy and behavioral products. Previously, Kang joined the Clinton Administration in 1994 as a White House fellow, and then subsequently served as the chief clinical officer for the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services from 1995 to 2002. While with CMS, he was responsible for Medicare technology assessment and coverage policy, setting quality standards for Medicare participating hospitals and facilities, and leading CMS’ quality measurement, improvement and patient safety activities.

Kang is an internist and geriatrician whose career began in 1984 as the executive director of the Urban Medical Group — a nonprofit, private group practice specializing in the care of the frail elderly and disabled.

Kang received his MD from University of California at San Francisco and his MPH from the University of California at Berkeley. He received his clinical training at Boston’s Beth Israel Hospital and remained on the clinical faculty at Harvard Medical School for more than 10 years. In addition to his duties at Walgreens, Kang currently is a board member of the Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society.

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