PHARMACY

Rite Aid appoints Wendy Barnes as group VP managed care

BY Alaric DeArment

CAMP HILL, Pa. — Rite Aid has hired Wendy Barnes as group VP managed care, the retail pharmacy chain said Monday.

Reporting to SVP pharmacy services Chris Hall, Barnes will be responsible for all aspects of managed care, including contracting; relationships with managed care organizations, pharmacy benefit managers and third-party payers; and developing new strategic partnerships.

"Wendy is a veteran of the managed care industry, and we are excited about the extensive knowledge and experience she is bringing to Rite Aid," Hall said. "Her expertise will be an invaluable resource as the company executes its managed care strategy in the rapidly changing healthcare environment."

Barnes previously served as pharmacy contracting and new business development director for Premier Healthcare Alliance, servicing 2,500 hospitals and 78,000 alternate site members. At Premier, she served as a member of the specialty pharmacy acquisition team and established the first drug-savings program for Oregon state employees. She also has served several hospital administration positions in the Air Force as an officer of the Medical Service Corps.

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PHARMACY

Walgreens PSC gains nearly 125,000 customers

BY Allison Cerra

DEERFIELD, Ill. — After announcing a special discount for Express Scripts members on the annual membership fee for the Walgreens Prescription Savings Club, the drug store chain said its PSC gained nearly 125,000 customers in the first week of the new year.

Noting the "record numbers of daily sign-ups," Walgreens said its program is designed to help patients who are covered by an Express Scripts pharmacy network continue using Walgreens when possible or make a smooth transition to another community pharmacy. PSC offers savings on more than 8,000 brand-name and all generic medications, with more than 400 generic medications offered as three-month supply for less than $1 a week.

“Our customers are looking for ways to continue using Walgreens to preserve their relationship with their trusted Walgreens pharmacist,” said Kermit Crawford, Walgreens president of pharmacy, health and wellness solutions and services. “They appreciate the access we provide, including 24-hour service and having the medication they need in stock. For many of these medications, especially generics, customers are finding our PSC card is very cost competitive.”

PSC is an existing Walgreens drug discount program, with nearly 2 million people enrolled.


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Bristol-Myers Squibb to acquire Inhibitex

BY Alaric DeArment

NEW YORK — Bristol-Myers Squibb is buying Inhibitex for $2.5 billion, the companies said.

In a $26-per-share tender offer, Bristol will acquire the Alpharetta, Ga.-based developer of treatments for hepatitis C. Inhibitex’s lead product is INX-189, an orally administered drug currently in phase-2 clinical trials.

"The acquisition of Inhibitex builds on Bristol-Myers Squibb’s long history of discovering, developing and delivering innovative new medicines in virology and enriches our portfolio of investigational medicines for hepatitis C," Bristol CEO Lamberto Andreotti said. "There is significant unmet medical need in hepatitis C. This acquisition represents an important investment in the long-term growth of the company."


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