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Rick LaBerge takes VP of sales role with Mars Chocolate North America

BY Jason Owen

HACKETTSTOWN, N.J. — Mars Chocolate North America announced today that Rick LaBerge has joined the company as VP of sales. In his new role leading the Mars Chocolate sales organization, LaBerge will oversee the strategy and execution of its retail management, customer account teams, field sales and customer development. He serves as a member of the Mars Senior Management Team and will play an active role in industry events.

LaBerge joins Mars from Johnson & Johnson where he most recently served as the general manager-Walmart global cross functional team for the consumer products segment. In this role, he oversaw a complex mix of brands and segments across the consumer sector representing $1.6 billion in sales.

In his 20+ years with J&J, Rick has held a variety of sales positions with progressive responsibility in J&J Merck Consumer Pharmaceuticals, McNeil Consumer Health Care and Nutritionals and in J&J Consumer Products. Prior to his general manager role, Rick served as VP, OTC medicine customer marketing for McNeil Consumer Healthcare from 2011 to 2012 and as VP of U.S. field sales from 2009 to 2011.

LaBerge received his undergraduate degree from Shippensburg University in Pennsylvania and a master’s degree from Cornell University.


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JCPP conference examines progress toward 2015 Vision, future refinements

BY Alaric DeArment

 WASHINGTON – As pharmacy evolves from medication dispensing to a key component of the healthcare system, strengthening the pharmacist’s role in health care was the dominant theme at a recent conference sponsored by a coalition of pharmacy groups.

The Joint Commission of Pharmacy Practitioners and representatives of nursing, medicine, education, pharmacy practice and consumer groups gathered last month at the Hotel Monaco in Alexandria, Va., for the conference, with American Pharmacists Association EVP Thomas Menighan serving as chairman.

Titled Advancing the JCPP Vision for Pharmacy Practice, the conference examined progress made toward realizing the group’s 2015 Vision, which foresees pharmacists as the healthcare professionals reponsible for providing patient care that ensures optimal medication outcomes.

Panels of experts and heads of JCPP member organizations discussed ways to improve the plan, and input and discussions from the meeting will be compiled and reviewed by staff from member organizations as they finalize the refined statement and action plan, projected to occur by early next year.


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VoicePort announces the launch of its Medication Synchronization program

BY Jason Owen

ROCHESTER, N.Y. — VoicePort, LLC announced today the launch of its Medication Synchronization automated solution with two U. S. pharmacy chain clients and are in final stage negotiations with several others in support of helping pharmacies deliver increased patient health-and-wellness.

"Allowing pharmacy patients the opportunity to pick up multiple prescription medications once a month has shown to significantly improve a patients "proportion days covered" on their medications," said Alphonse J. Sasso, VP of business development. Sasso continued, "When consumers stay adherent to their maintenance medications it translates to improved patient health outcomes while also increasing pharmacy sales and profits, a true, win/win solution."

VoicePort’s systems leverage a front-end analysis tool to help pharmacies identify patients who qualify to participate, identifies what medication should be used to anchor the synchronized refills and also calculates the required short fills necessary to get each patient on a once-a-month pick up schedule. Pharmacies are also supported through an automated calling system from VoicePort to enroll patients in the synchronization program, to schedule the pharmacist-patient counseling sessions and to alert patients when their medications are ready for pick up. VoicePort also makes available back-end analytics tools to help measure pharmacy progress on keeping patients on schedule with their medications; a complete turn-key solution to help deliver greater patient health-and-wellness.

"Capitalizing on our technology and automation helps pharmacies to focus on their patients to offer added care and instruction," said Christopher J. Mann, president and CEO of VoicePort, LLC. VoicePort’s solutions are automated to complement its pharmacy partner’s workflow to deliver added efficiencies and improved Medication Adherence for their client’s pharmacy patients. "We are very excited to have the chance to work with our North American clients to leverage our technology to improve the patients overall health-and-wellness," said Mann.

VoicePort also announced today a new strategic partnership with Pharmacy Quality Solutions (PQS), a company that offers analytical measurement tools on key pharmacy performance metrics in support of Medicare Part D Star Rating measures. The EQuIPPTM system from PQS offers neutral assessment of quality-related performance and lays a foundation for performance-based contracts and payment systems for pharmacy networks. "Offering our clients these enhanced measurement analytic tools will allow them to track their performance on a consistent and standardized format as they roll out key pharmacy adherence and clinical programs", " added Mann.  "We are very excited to offer this added level of pharmacy collaboration in support of healthcare plans in an automated format to help measure progress on key metrics within the pharmacy."

VoicePort’s PharmaPhonetics Patient solutions delivers cost-effective, automated, personalized, intelligent, and interactive unified communications that connects directly to the patients on behalf of the pharmacy. Their services include prescription pick-up and refill reminder notifications, health awareness/medical therapy review messaging, patient counseling, translation, education, and instruction services, mobile applications focused for pharmacy or front end, automated Web-based appointment scheduling services and patient co-payment assistance programs. The Unified Patient Communication platform enables permission based phone, text, e-mail, Web and mobile notifications that are dynamically personalized to individual patients and their specific needs.


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