PHARMACY

McKesson employees give back for 16th Community Days program

BY Michael Johnsen

SAN FRANCISCO — From Oct. 27 through Nov. 1, 2014, more than 11,000 McKesson employees at more than 170 locations across the United States will participate in the 16th Community Days program, an annual company event. During Community Days, employees will gather for large group volunteer projects benefiting local communities where they live and work. This year, employees nationwide will help create more than 18,000 warm scarves and 36,000 hand-written cards containing comforting messages for cancer patients, which will be included as part of cancer care packages distributed through Giving Comfort, a program of the McKesson Foundation.
 
Each year, 1.6 million people in the United States are newly diagnosed with cancer. Giving Comfort was established to provide cancer patients with care packages, called "Comfort Kits," filled with the most needed and requested items to provide comfort and relief during chemotherapy treatment. 
 
"While the search for a cure continues, patients fighting cancer need our help right now," said Elizabeth Howland, managing director of Giving Comfort. "We surveyed hundreds of cancer patients and oncology professionals and found that small items of comfort can help patients endure tough times. We are hopeful the efforts of McKesson employees nationwide and Giving Comfort's Comfort Kits will help make treatment more bearable for these patients."
 
Nearly one quarter of people with cancer will exhaust all of their savings as a result of treatment costs, even with insurance. As many as 11% of cancer patients cannot afford food and basic necessities due to treatment costs. Giving Comfort provides relief to these patients through the items included in the Comfort Kits, such as a warm blanket, toiletries, a warm cap, a journal and other frequently requested items.
 
Through generous donations by individuals and the support of the McKesson Foundation, Comfort Kits are provided to patients in need free of charge. Individual donations go directly to purchasing and shipping Comfort Kits to patients. The Kits are delivered into the hands of patients through Giving Comfort's partnerships with organizations in more than 165 locations — such as the American Cancer Society, Ronald McDonald Houses and the Mayo Clinic — across 33 states.
 
In addition to providing donated kits, Giving Comfort provides an e-store that allows individuals to purchase a Comfort Kit online for a friend or loved one, regardless of income, and have the gift sent directly to the recipient's home or hospital room with a personal note enclosed. All of the proceeds from  kit sales go directly back into supporting Giving Comfort's Comfort Kits for low-income patients.
 
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PHARMACY

Novartis divests influenza vaccines business for $275 million

BY Michael Johnsen

BASEL, Switzerland — Novartis on Sunday announced it has entered into a definitive agreement to divest its influenza vaccines business to CSL for an agreed price of $275 million. This transaction requires regulatory approvals and is expected to close in the second half of 2015.
 
CSL has more than 40 years of experience in the influenza vaccines business and operates in 27 countries with more than 13,000 employees worldwide. In addition to vaccines, CSL has established businesses in plasma-driven therapies, pharmaceuticals, antivenoms and immunohemotology. The Novartis influenza vaccines unit will be combined with CSL's subsidiary, bioCSL.
 
"In CSL, we have found not only an owner for the influenza business that shares our commitment to protecting public health, but also a strong growth platform for the business and our associates," stated Joseph Jimenez, CEO of Novartis.
 
The Novartis influenza vaccines business has a strong track record of delivering almost 1 billion doses of seasonal and pandemic influenza vaccines globally over the last 30 years. The company was the first and only manufacturer with the flexibility of two production technologies — egg-based vaccines for seasonal, pandemic and pre-pandemic, and cell-culture-based vaccines for antibiotic-free production with the potential for rapid scale-up to protect against pandemic threats. The business also benefits from access to a proprietary adjuvant platform and leadership in pandemic preparedness.
 
Novartis remains fully committed to the influenza business during the transition period to closing, including honoring agreements with customers, research and development for influenza vaccines, and product launches.
 
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Onco360 names new chief executive

BY Michael Johnsen

NEW YORK — Onco360, one of the nation’s largest independent providers of oncology pharmacy services, on Monday announced that Paul Jardina was named president and CEO.
 
“We are confident that Paul is the right leader to take Onco360 forward," said Greg Weishar, CEO of PharMerica, a signficant investor in Onco360. "His deep experience in healthcare and oncology make him the ideal CEO for Onco360. We are confident that, under his leadership, Onco360 will continue to fulfill its mission of transforming oncology pharmacy, now and in the future.”
 
Jardina has more than 20 years of healthcare industry experience as an executive in oncology and physician services. Most recently he served as president and CEO of U.S. Physiatry, a physician services company focused on physical medicine and rehabilitation in the post-acute continuum. Jardina has served in various leadership positions for U.S. Oncology (now McKesson Specialty Health), leading key business lines including oncology specialty pharmacy, drug distribution and radiation and imaging. In his role at U.S. Oncology, Jardina was instrumental in the development and growth of the company’s pharmaceutical service lines and its transition to an open market provider of oncology pharmaceutical services.
 
Burt Zweigenhaft will continue to serve as the company’s vice chairman and chief strategy officer. In this capacity, Zweigenhaft will focus on key strategic initiatives and business development to further support the company’s growth strategy.
 
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