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Gleeson to retire as Walgreen’s chief strategy officer

BY Adam Kraemer

DEERFIELD, Ill. The Walgreen Co. on Tuesday announced that senior vice president and chief strategy officer John W. Gleeson, 61, is retiring at the end of the month after more than 45 years with the company.

Starting in the company as a stock clerk in 1962, Gleeson made the move to the corporate offices in 1969 after graduating from the University of Illinois. He has served as an analyst in the results department, divisional vice president of marketing systems and services, and vice president of corporate strategy and treasurer. He was named to his current position in 2007. 

“John was an ‘idea’ guy throughout his career,” said Walgreens chairman and chief executive officer Jeffrey Rein. “He conceptualized the freestanding store concept, which Walgreens pioneered and has been pivotal to our growth since the early 1990s. He also headed our Strategic Inventory Management System project, which has saved billions of dollars in inventory investment. Most recently, John has led the work on our health care service initiatives. All of us at Walgreens thank him for his countless contributions and wish him a productive and enjoyable retirement.”

Robert G. Zimmerman, 56, vice president of corporate development, will lead the strategy group. He has been with the company for 30 years, including a 16-year stint with Walgreens Health Services.

The company also announced that Howard Atlas, 47, a vice president of store operations, has been named to the new position of vice president of health and wellness integration. “Howard will bring understanding of our operations to Take Care Health, while also bringing Take Care expertise to Walgreens,” said Rein. “By the end of calendar 2008, we’ll have more than 400 stores with Take Care Health Clinics. We acquired Take Care last year to offer patients treatment for acute conditions by health professionals. But that is just the beginning. We also plan to develop convenience-oriented health and wellness services such as vaccinations, wellness management, monitoring of chronic diseases and administration of infused or injected specialty drugs.”

Rein also stated that Take Care would “provide more convenient access to quality, routine health care at an affordable cost to patients and payers, including employers.”

“With the 7,000 easily accessible stores we’ll have nationwide within two years,” he said, “we’re better positioned than any other retailer to succeed in offering this new level of health care.”

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CVS Caremark settles PBM suit

BY Antoinette Alexander

WOONSOCKET, R.I. CVS Caremark announced on Thursday that it has agreed to pay at least $38.5 million to settle a multi-state consumer protection investigation from 2004 of certain alleged PBM business practices of its legacy AdvancePCS and legacy Caremark subsidiaries.

CVS Caremark stated that, in entering the settlement, it has expressly denied any and all allegations and there has been no finding of wrongdoing or inappropriate business conduct on its part. It noted that the probe is similar to multi-state consumer protection investigations of other major PBMs.

The company’s AdvancePCS (now known as CaremarkPCS) and Caremark subsidiaries have entered into a settlement agreement and consent order with 28 states and the District of Columbia.

The states claimed that Caremark encouraged doctors to switch patient medications in order to save money, but did not let the doctors know that Caremark would keep the savings and patients or their health plans might pay more, according to Vermont attorney general William Sorrell. Sorrell noted in a statement that Vermont will receive more than $1.1 million from the settlement.

Under the settlement, CVS Caremark will pay $12 million on behalf of legacy AdvancePCS, $10 million on behalf of legacy Caremark, $16.5 million in state investigative costs and up to $2.5 million as reimbursement for certain medical tests.

The amounts to be paid were previously accrued for by legacy Caremark in prior fiscal periods so the settlement will not impact the 2008 financial results of the company.

The consent order requires AdvancePCS and Caremark to maintain certain PBM business practices and, according to CVS Caremark, will not result in significant changes to current business practices.

The other states participating in the settlement are: Arizona, Arkansas, California, Connecticut, Delaware, District of Columbia, Florida, Illinois, Iowa, Louisiana, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nevada, New Mexico, North Carolina, Ohio, Oregon, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia and Washington.

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Hy-Vee signs with Insignia’s POPSign network

BY Diana Alickaj

MINNEAPOLIS Insignia Systems, a company that deals exclusively with in-store advertising products, programs and services to retailers and consumer goods manufacturers, announced that Hy-Vee has been added to its Insignia POPSign network of grocery stores.

Insignia, according to published reports, has contracts with over 9,000 chain retail supermarkets and drugstores, including A&P, Kroger and Safeway. The company felt that Hy-Vee would be a natural partner, for its 223 stores in the United States. Hy-Vee stores are located in mostly in Iowa, and spread throughout the Midwest region.

“We’re pleased with Hy-Vee’s decision to participate in the Insignia POPSign program,” said Scot Drill, president and chief executive officer of Insignia. “Hy-Vee is a significant addition to our Midwest POPSign network, which will be much appreciated by our participating brand manufacturers. We look forward to a long and mutually beneficial relationship with Hy-Vee.”

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