PHARMACY

Fegan to leave Ahold for Winn-Dixie

BY Jim Frederick

BRAINTREE, Mass. Ahold USA revealed today that veteran pharmacy executive John Fegan, who heads up all U.S. pharmacy operations for the diverse, Dutch-based supermarket retailer as senior vice president of pharmacy, will leave the company May 23 after 12 years with the company and its Stop & Shop supermarket division.

Fegan told Drug Store News he is leaving to take a position in pharmacy management for Jacksonville, Fla.-based Winn-Dixie Stores. As such, he will oversee operations of some 400 in-store supermarket pharmacies in Winn-Dixie’s five-state operating area, which includes a total of 520 supermarkets in Florida, Georgia, Alabama, Mississippi and Louisiana.

The announcement was made internally to company associates today by two Ahold USA executives in a joint statement: Jim Dwyer, executive vice president of strategy and business development; and Don Sussman, executive vice president of merchandising.

“We thank John for his service with us and his contributions over the years,” they noted. “We wish him well in his new career.”

Fegan’s departure has triggered other shifts in management for Ahold’s pharmacy operations, which comprise more than 400 prescription departments within the company’s Stop & Shop and Giant divisions. Replacing him as overall head of the pharmacy organization will be Jim Wonderly, who will continue to oversee procurement. Wonderly most recently was in charge of the general merchandise/health and beauty care departments.

While not a pharmacist, Wonderly was instrumental in the development of a centralized pharmacy buying model for the multi-chain company, “acting as lead negotiator on the last two pharmaceutical wholesaler contracts and managing the pharmacy systems group,” according to Dwyer and Sussman.

Wonderly will report to Dwyer.

Promoted to vice president of pharmacy operations—and reporting to Wonderly—is Joel Berman, an 18-year Stop & Shop pharmacy veteran. Berman will head up pharmacy operations at both Stop & Shop and the Giant-Landover division based in Landover, Md.

To fill the void left by Wonderly’s transition to lead the pharmacy organization, Ahold has promoted Marco Leone to senior director of GM/HBC.

In their announcement to employees, Dwyer and Sussman called the current retail environment “a challenging and competitive time in the pharmacy market,” but noted, “challenges also present opportunity, and we are confident we have the leadership team in place to position our pharmacy business for future success.

“We are facing the challenges of the marketplace by investing in promotions, advertising and pricing as well as building closer ties to our newly reset and VIP-priced HBC section, which launches on May 16,” they added. “We know our customers want the convenience of a pharmacy where they shop for groceries, and at a time when gas prices are at an all-time high, they appreciate not having to make a separate trip.”

Ahold now operates some 560 prescription departments within its more than 700 supermarkets and combo stores. “Pharmacy continues to be an enormously important business for us, and critically important to the long term health of our company,” noted Dwyer and Sussman.

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PHARMACY

Chinese companies set to enter generic market

BY Drew Buono

LONDON Chinese drug manufacturing companies are now looking to get into manufacturing generic drugs, according to Reuters. The country is already the world’s biggest producer of active pharmaceutical ingredients and is now aiming at producing finished drug products for sale in the U.S., Europe and other key markets.

IMS Health said last year’s first approval from the Food and Drug Administration for a Chinese generic—a copy of AIDS drug nevirapine—was a sign of things to come. Now, at least 10 other Chinese companies are set to follow suit with other generic products, according to IMS.

The result will be increased competition in a generic drugs industry that is already struggling with tumbling prices. The rise of Chinese generic drugmakers is expected to mirror that of Indian firms like Ranbaxy Laboratories, which also started out as an API supplier but moved into finished generic medicines a decade ago.

The problem, though, according to IMS, is safety issues involving the drugs. The most noticeable problem, the tainted blood thinner heparin that was produced in China and then created a health scare across the globe.

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Pfizer supports transparency initiative by listing Q1 grants

BY Drew Buono

NEW YORK Following in line of such other pharmaceutical companies as Eli Lilly, Pfizer has begun listing its U.S. medical, scientific and patient organization grants and charitable contributions made in the first quarter of 2008, as part of a mission to increase company transparency.

Of a total $9.97 million in grants and charitable contributions reported for the first quarter of 2008, the largest grant, $3,420,318, was made to the California Academy of Family Physicians in March for a three-year national health care professional education campaign to reduce the number of U.S. smokers. This grant was distributed among nine partner organizations across the country.

Other grants include $500,000 to Family Health International for malaria patient education and treatment, and $237,500 to the Massachusetts Institute of Technology for its clinical investigator training program with Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center.

“We want to bring greater transparency to the way we partner with leading medical, scientific and patient organizations,” said Jeffrey Kindler, chairman and chief executive officer of Pfizer. “Detailing these grants and charitable contributions is an important part of our ongoing transparency drive.”

The company plans on updating its information each quarter.

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