PHARMACY

McKesson taps chain pharmacy veteran to run Health Mart pharmacy operations

BY Jim Frederick

ORLANDO, Fla. McKesson Corp. has added new management expertise to its fast-growing Health Mart franchise division with the appointment of veteran chain pharmacy executive Chuck Wilson to the new post of VP pharmacy operations.

The appointment was announced at McKesson’s 2009 Pharmacy Strategies Conference here this week. The addition of Wilson — who spent nine years in pharmacy management at Walgreens and last served as VP pharmacy operations for Target Corp. — underscores the dramatic growth that has propelled Health Mart to the upper tier of drug store retailing.

As head of pharmacy operations, Wilson will focus on best-practice operating standards for the franchise chain, which has grown over the past three years from some 200 units to 2,315 member independents nationwide. The new pharmacy leader will also develop new policies and programs “to position Health Mart franchisees for increased profitability and efficiency,” the company said.

Although his career to this point has been in chain pharmacy, Wilson is no stranger to the independent side of drug store retailing. He grew up in a family that owned a retail pharmacy, says Health Mart president Tim Canning. “Chuck’s extensive expertise and operational knowledge will help drive Health Mart’s continued success as a world-class pharmacy franchise,” Canning said. “His experience behind the counter and in pharmacy operations makes him best suited to play a leadership role in taking Health Mart to the next level.”

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Letter urges Waxman to push for provisions in H.R. 1427 for biosimilars regulatory pathway

BY Alaric DeArment

WASHINGTON In a letter Friday, a group of organizations urged a Congressman to push for provisions contained in a bill he introduced that would create a regulatory pathway for biosimilars if a House committee calls for a pathway as part of healthcare reform legislation.

The Generic Pharmaceutical Association, AARP, the Pharmaceutical Care Management Association, labor unions and other groups asked Rep. Henry Waxman, D-Calif., to try and insert provisions from his Promoting Innovation and Life Saving Medicines Act in health reform legislation, if the legislation includes a pathway for biosimilars.

Waxman’s bill, introduced on March 11, would grant biotech drugs five years of market exclusivity, much like the Hatch-Waxman Act he co-sponsored in 1984, which created an approval pathway for generic pharmaceutical drugs.

Nevertheless, the bill has garnered only 14 co-sponsors, compared to 137 for the Pathway for Biosimilars Act, a competing bill introduced days after Waxman’s by Rep. Anna Eshoo, D-Calif., which would allow 12 to 14 years of exclusivity. Earlier this month, the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee voted to amend the healthcare reform bill to allow 12 years of exclusivity for biotech drugs.

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Oramed announces mid-stage trial results for Type 1 diabetes treatment

BY Alaric DeArment

JERUSALEM A company that develops alternative drug delivery systems said it achieved positive results in a mid-stage clinical trial of an orally administered insulin for treating Type 1 diabetes.

Oramed Pharmaceuticals said the phase 2a trial of its insulin capsules, ORMD-0801, showed the capsules was well-tolerated and produced no serious harmful side effects.

“These results demonstrate that Oramed’s oral insulin capsule had a good safety profile and was effective on patients with Type 1 diabetes when taken prior to a meal,” Oramed chief scientific officer Miriam Kidron said in a statement.

The company said it is conducting a phase 2b trial in South Africa, evaluating the insulin’s effects on patients with Type 2 diabetes.

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