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Walgreens adds former CIGNA CMO and specialty pharmacy vet to team

BY Michael Johnsen

DEERFIELD, Ill. — Walgreens on Tuesday named Jeffrey Kang and Mike Ellis to its pharmacy, health and wellness division.

Kang will join Walgreens Oct. 31 as SVP health and wellness services and solutions, reporting to both president and CEO Greg Wasson and president of pharmacy, health and wellness Kermit Crawford.

In addition, Mike Ellis has joined Walgreens as VP specialty pharmacy and infusion, reporting to Crawford.

"To advance community pharmacy and our role in the integration and cost-effective delivery of healthcare, we are continuing to strengthen the talent and leadership of our pharmacy, health and wellness organization," Crawford said. "Jeff comes to Walgreens after a long and diverse career in the healthcare industry. He has experienced the industry from all sides — as a practicing physician, from inside government and in the private sector. With his extensive background in health care, Jeff has the breadth of experience and strategic insight to lead our health and wellness businesses, building a dynamic organization that helps us meet customers’ needs for access to quality, affordable healthcare."

Most recently Kang, 55, was chief medical officer at CIGNA, where he was responsible for health strategy and policy for its medical, pharmacy and behavioral products. Kang also was responsible for CIGNA’s pay for performance programs, including its patient centered medical home and accountable care organizations. Prior to his position at CIGNA, he served as chief clinical officer at the Health Care Financing Administration (now Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services) from 1998 to 2002. He also was chief medical officer for the Office of Managed Care from 1995 to 1998.

Kang began his career as the executive director of the Urban Medical Group, a not-for-profit, private group practice in Boston that pioneered the use of physician and nurse practitioner teams to care for frail, elderly patients.

Kang is board certified in internal medicine and geriatrics and was on the clinical faculty at Harvard Medical School. In 1981, he received both his M.D. from University of California at San Francisco and his M.P.H from the University of California at Berkeley. He earned his bachelor’s degree from Harvard College in 1977. He was on the clinical faculty at Boston’s Beth Israel Hospital, Harvard Medical School, from 1984 to 1994. Kang currently serves on the board of directors for the National Committee for Quality Assurance and the Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society.

In announcing the appointment of Mike Ellis as Walgreens new VP specialty pharmacy and infusion, Crawford said Ellis will bring important strategic oversight to both of those business units. "Mike’s well-rounded background in specialty and infusion pharmacy includes developing strategic service relationships with the biotech and pharmaceutical industries, and building new business opportunities," said Crawford. "His leadership will be an important part of our opportunity to play a significant role as a provider in these growing pharmaceutical segments."

Most recently Ellis, 53, managed private investments for companies in healthcare and other industries. Prior to that, he served as SVP specialty trade relations and contracting and pharmaceutical services for CVS Caremark. His more than 28 years of experience covers both the specialty pharmacy and infusion services industries, including senior positions with companies including AdvancePCS, Olsten Health Services and Quantum Health Resources.

Ellis is a licensed pharmacist and earned his bachelor of science degree in pharmacy in 1982 from the University of Arkansas College of Pharmacy.
 

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MedPro Rx president Nancy McFarlane wins Business Leader Magazine award

BY Alaric DeArment

RALEIGH, N.C. — Business Leader Magazine has given its 2011 Movers & Shakers Award to Nancy McFarlane, president of specialty pharmacy provider MedPro Rx, the company said.

McFarlane founded MedPro Rx in 2002 and has since led it to be a multimillion dollar company, the company said. Since then, it has launched several community outreach programs, including the "Education is Power" scholarship program, through which the pharmacy has awarded nearly $300,000 to students nationwide who are living with bleeding disorders, a disease state in which it specializes.

MedPro Rx also supports groups like the Hemophilia Foundation of North Carolina, the Myasthenia Gravis Foundation of America, the Neuropathy Association and others.

McFarlane also was elected to the Raleigh, N.C., city council in 2007, is mayor pro tem for the city and is a candidate in the October 2011 mayoral race.

"It is an honor to be recognized for an award that has been given to many of the Triangle’s top leaders and executives," McFarlane said. "The hard work and dedication that these leaders have provided in supporting their businesses, their employees and the Triangle is what makes our area one of the bets places to live and work."

 


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Depomed launches shingles drug

BY Alaric DeArment

MENLO PARK, Calif. — Depomed has launched a new drug for treating shingles, the drug maker said Monday.

The company announced the launch of Gralise (gabapentin) tablets, a once-daily treatment for postherpetic neuralgia, the pain that follows healing of the rash associated with shingles.

Gralise is a proprietary formulation of gabapentin that uses patented polymer technology that enables gradual release of the drug. Depomed said it is not interchangeable with other branded or generic gabapentin-based drugs.

 


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