PHARMACY

Walgreens VP to present during Pinsonault Associates Managed Markets Summit

BY Michael Johnsen

DEERFIELD, Ill. — Walgreens VP clinical affairs David Lorber will present during the Pinsonault Associates Managed Markets Summit on April 12 in Miami, Fla., the retailer announced Thursday.

The session, titled "Employer Issues in Specialty Pharmacy," will examine concerns for payers, including cost management and containment, benefit and coverage decisions, formulary and medical policy, pipeline management, provider network, member satisfaction and disruption, and compliance.

Specialty pharmacy is the most rapidly growing segment of total drug spending, Walgreens noted. Approximately 3% to 5% of the population is impacted, and that number is increasing. Lorber plans to discuss the goals of improving the health and well-being of patients by providing convenient access to drugs, consistent, coordinated support and maximum therapy outcomes, while also increasing adherence and eliminating direct costs resulting from medication waste. Walgreens specialty pharmacy offers patient assistance coordination, multiple distribution channels, strong manufacturer relationships, advanced clinical programs and access to limited distribution drugs.

Lorber joined Walgreens as the VP clinical affairs in November 2010 and is responsible for clinical oversight and consistency of Walgreens clinical programs. Previously, he was VP medical affairs for CVS Caremark. Prior to joining CVS Caremark, Lorber was medical director at Blue Cross Blue Shield of New Mexico in Albuquerque and a private practitioner in pulmonary, critical care and internal medicine. He has held numerous positions in community leadership and professional organizations, including president of the New Mexico Chapter of the American Thoracic Society and faculty appointments as assistant clinical professor of medicine with the University of New Mexico School of Medicine, and as assistant professor with the University of Arizona Medical Center in Tucson and the Tucson VA Hospital.

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Pfizer, Zacharon enter collaboration

BY Alaric DeArment

SAN DIEGO — Pfizer is partnering with San Diego biotech company Zacharon Pharmaceuticals to develop treatments for rare genetic disorders Zacharon said Thursday.

Under the collaboration, which could garner Zacharon up to $210 million, the companies will discover and develop pharmaceutical drugs for treating lysosomal storage disorders, a class of illnesses that includes Fabry disease, Gaucher disease, Pompe disease and Tay-Sachs disease.

Discovery of the drugs will involve use of Zacharon’s drug platform, and Zacharon will receive upfront payments, research and development funding and potential milestone payments and royalties.

“We are very pleased to be working with Pfizer, which has broad compound development expertise, including in the area of small molecules, which should be quite useful to developing drugs for these orphan diseases,” Zacharon president and CEO Robin Jackman said. “The collaboration provides validation for the potential that lies in Zacharon’s broadly applicable technology platform.”

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MinuteClinic enters clinical affiliation with Advocate Health Care, Advocate Physician Partners

BY Antoinette Alexander

WOONSOCKET, R.I., and OAK BROOK, Ill. — CVS Caremark’s retail-based clinic operator, MinuteClinic, has entered into a clinical affiliation with Advocate Health Care and Advocate Physician Partners to enhance the healthcare services provided to patients in communities throughout Chicagoland and central Illinois. The deal marks the largest clinical collaboration between a regional health system and MinuteClinic based on number of in-store clinic locations.

Under the agreement, physicians affiliated with Advocate Physician Partners will serve as medical directors for MinuteClinic’s 23 locations in the Chicago metro area and in Bloomington, Ill. In addition, MinuteClinic and Advocate Health Care will collaborate on patient education and disease management initiatives and will inform patients of the services each offers.

Where appropriate, Advocate Physician Partners physicians can accept patients who need a higher level of care than MinuteClinic can provide. Signage at MinuteClinic locations will inform patients that each site has a clinical affiliation with Advocate.

MinuteClinic and Advocate will fully integrate their electronic medical record systems to streamline communication around all aspects of each individual’s care. With patient permission, each MinuteClinic will share medical history and visit summaries with other Advocate and MinuteClinic locations in the region. In the meantime, MinuteClinic will continue its standard practice of sending visit summaries via fax or mail, typically within 24 hours.

"Chicagoland is one of MinuteClinic’s largest markets, so it was important for us to develop a clinical affiliation with a system like Advocate that delivers high-quality services throughout the region and overlaps with the vast majority of our clinic sites," stated Andrew Sussman, president of MinuteClinic and SVP/associate chief medical officer at CVS Caremark. "Advocate’s progressive approach to healthcare reform and its national leadership in developing new models for clinical care was an important factor in our decision to affiliate with them and work jointly to promote more convenient and accessible solutions for receiving care in the Chicago area."

"We look forward to collaborating with MinuteClinic on creative ways to improve outcomes for our patients with chronic conditions," added Lee Sacks, EVP and chief medical officer at Advocate. "This partnership allows Advocate physicians to provide a medical home for the many patients who seek care at MinuteClinic and do not have a relationship with a physician. It also aligns with AdvocateCare, our new transformational approach to healthcare delivery, which provides better coordination and transitions for our patients."

Advocate Health Care is the largest, fully integrated healthcare system in Illinois with more than 250 sites of care, including 12 hospitals and seven trauma centers.

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