Issues Summit panels attract record attendance

BY Antoinette Alexander

Record-breaking attendance and four panel discussions on such topics as specialty pharmacy and diabetes set the stage for the 13th annual Drug Store News Industry Issues Summit held on Nov. 29 in New York City. This year’s event attracted more than 30 retailers and 200 industry suppliers. 

Industry Issues Summit began 13 years ago as a small, closed-door event and has evolved into a must-attend day of education, networking and dialogue, with four separate panel discussions: Health, Wellness and Technology; Diabetes Leadership Forum; Specialty Pharmacy Leadership Summit; and Industry Issues Summit.

Retailer and supplier panelists discussed an array of issues impacting pharmacy. Topics ranged from the role specialty pharmacy can play in the management of new genetic and diagnostic testing, to the real value proposition of biosimilars, to the 2012 drivers that will impact specialty pharmacy.

Bob Dufour of Blue Ocean Innovative Solutions moderated the Health, Wellness and Technology panel; Dave Wendland of Hamacher Resource Group moderated the Diabetes Leadership Forum; and Dave Fong of Dave Fong Rx Consulting moderated the Specialty Pharmacy Leadership Summit. Participants for the three panels included: 

  • Will Abbott, director of pharmacy strategy and innovation at CVS;

  • Michael Agostino, president of Amber Pharmacy;

  • Mike Cantrell, president of Good Neighbor Pharmacy;

  • Anthony Davino, VP manufacturer relations at Armada Health Care;

  • Bart Foster, CEO and founder of SoloHealth;

  • Phil Hagerman, co-founder of Diplomat Specialty Pharmacy;

  • Aaron Kaufman, GM/VP healthcare/life sciences solutions at Kony Solutions;

  • Massoud Kazemzadeh, COO at Kay’s Naturals;

  • Debbie Krasnow, director of managed care at Giant Eagle;

  • Michael LaMotta, senior manager of trade operations at Novo Nordisk;

  • Ashton Maaraba, GM and COO of PharmaSmart International;

  • Lee Merritt, VP business development at Medfusion/Ascend Rx;

  • John Musil, founder and CEO of Apothecary Shops;

  • Leon Nevers, business development and professional services at H-E-B;

  • Craig Norman, SVP pharmacy at H-E-B;

  • Darren O’Neill, senior director of sponsored clinical services at Health Mart;

  • Dev Patel, SVP technology at Moonshado;

  • Rick Sage, VP pharmacy solutions at Emdeon;

  • Murali Sastry, director of payer contracting at BioPlus Specialty Pharmacy;

  • Erick Von Schweber, CEO and executive co-chair at Surveyor Health;

  • Effie Steele, clinical services coordinator at Meijer;

  • Ray Tancredi, senior director of trade account management/contracting operations at Walgreens;

  • James Weeast, senior director of Rx health and wellness technology at Walgreens;

  • Chuck Wilson, VP of Health Mart operations at McKesson;

  • Michael Wolf, director of diabetes care merchandising at Walgreens;

  • Alan Yates, VP product development at Numera Social; and

  • Brahim Zabeli, SVP sales and marketing at UltiMed;

  • Ceci Zeigler, national director of patient care services at Amerisource­Bergen/Good Neighbor Pharmacy; and

  • Burt Zweigenhaft, CEO of OncoMed.

The transcript of the Diabetes Summit will appear in the Feb. 27 issue of DSN; the full transcript of the technology summit will be available on Feb. 6 on; and the Specialty Pharmacy transcript will run in the spring edition of Specialty Pharmacy magazine.


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Walgreens adds big touch of tech


CHICAGO — Walgreens in early January brought the latest example of its flagship retail pharmacy to life in Chicago. And, like it’s counterpart in New York, the interactive technology really sets the store apart from traditional retail pharmacy experiences. Two endcaps across from the pharmacy feature interactive touchscreens — one features information on smoking cessation, the other on heart health. Adjacent to the pharmacy’s pick-up window is a self-serve prescription checkout that dispenses a patient’s prescriptions.

Complementing an extensive wine and liquor selection are two touchscreen kiosks. The first, located alongside the checkstand, helps consumers pair a wine selection with that evening’s meal. The second, dubbed a “virtual bartender” breaks down a cocktail recipe into its base components so consumers can recreate that cocktail at home. Also, the Maybelline touchscreen beauty kiosk, originally featured at the 40 Wall St. location in New York, now is Facebook-enabled.

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Study: General sleep disturbance associated with obesity, diabetes, heart disease

BY Michael Johnsen

PHILADELPHIA — People who suffer from sleep disturbances are at major risk for obesity, diabetes and coronary artery disease, according to new research released Thursday from the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania.

Shown for the first time in such a large and diverse sample, analyzing the data of more than 130,000 people, the new research also indicated that general sleep disturbance (difficulty falling asleep, staying asleep and/or sleeping too much) may play a role in the development of cardiovascular and metabolic disorders. The study is published online ahead of print in the Journal of Sleep Research.

“This study is one of the largest ever to link sleep problems with important cardiovascular and metabolic diseases," stated Philip Gehrman, assistant professor of psychology in the Department of Psychiatry, clinical director of the Penn Medicine Behavioral Sleep Medicine Program, and senior study author. "It joins other studies that show that sleep is an important part of health, just like diet and physical activity. … As a society, we need to make healthy sleep a priority.”

The researchers examined associations between sleep disturbances and other health conditions, focusing on perceived sleep quality, rather than just sleep duration. After adjusting for demographic, socioeconomic and health risk factors, patients with sleep disturbances at least three nights per week on average were 35% more likely to be obese, 54% more likely to have diabetes, 98% more likely to have coronary artery disease, 80% more likely to have had a heart attack and 102% more likely to have had a stroke.

“Previous studies have demonstrated that those who get less sleep are more likely to also be obese, have diabetes or cardiovascular disease, and are more likely to die sooner, but this new analysis has revealed that other sleep problems, such as difficulty falling asleep, staying asleep or even too much sleep, are also associated with cardiovascular and metabolic health issues,” stated Michael Grandner, research associate at the Center for Sleep and Circadian Neurobiology at Penn, and lead author of the study.

Grandner and colleagues analyzed data from the 2009 Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System of 138,201 people. The researchers said that future studies are needed to show whether sleep problems actually predict the new onset of cardiovascular and metabolic disease, and whether treatment of sleep problems improves long-term health and longevity. The research was funded, in part, by a grant from the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute.


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Which area of the industry do you think Amazon's entry would shake up the most?