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NACDS taps federal official as Wagner retires

BY Jim Frederick

ALEXANDRIA, Va. —In what amounts to a major overhaul and streamlining of one of its most critical functions, the National Association of Chain Drug Stores has combined its government affairs and public policy operations under a unified umbrella. Heading the new department will be Carol Kelly, a high-level federal health policy veteran who will join NACDS in January to take the newly created position of senior vice president of government affairs and public policy.

The restructuring comes on the heels of an announcement by NACDS veteran Mary Ann Wagner that she will retire Dec. 31 as senior vice president of policy and pharmacy regulatory affairs, following a 13-year career with the organization.

Wagner will leave as one of the most respected and well-known pharmacy advocates and policy analysts in the industry. She has served as a front-line advocate at NACDS in numerous policy and government initiatives, including fair pharmacy reimbursement, patient privacy and HIPAA issues, drug safety, methamphetamine abuse and pharmacy practice standards, as well as having lobbied in Congress on behalf of pharmacy.

Wagner also forged a productive retail career with Hook Drugs and Hook SupeRx.

Wagner’s efforts garnered her numerous honors, including the 2003 Harold W. Pratt Award.

“Words cannot adequately express our feelings of appreciation about the incredible work that Mary Ann has accomplished throughout her extremely successful career at NACDS and in the pharmacy industry,” said NACDS president and chief executive officer Steve Anderson. “Her responsiveness to the NACDS membership, her leadership skills, her incredible knowledge of the pharmacy industry and her impact on public policy are traits to which we all aspire.”

Wagner plans to retire back to Indianapolis to spend more time with her family, and has said that she intends to continue working with NACDS in a consulting capacity.

Instead of replacing Wagner directly, NACDS will merge public policy with government affairs under Kelly. Reporting to her will be Paul Kelly, vice president of federal government affairs, and Gary Wirth, head of state government affairs.

Merging the two departments, said Anderson, “will greatly enhance the effectiveness and profile of the federal and state legislative and regulatory activities of NACDS.” He praised Kelly for her understanding of health policy and her “considerable experience in both regulation and legislation, and the interaction between the two.

“One look at Carol’s background, and it is readily apparent that she is ideal for this role at NACDS,” Anderson said. “Carol is considered as one of the great policy experts in the area of health care. She has had an extremely distinguished career in senior government positions, in corporate leadership roles and as a senior executive in a healthcare trade association.”

NACDS’ Shott ties the knot

Married: NACDS vice president of media relations Chrissy Shott to congressional affairs professional Scott Kopple, in a private ceremony Oct. 7, before 150 of their friends and family. Shott, who has changed her name to Kopple, and her husband met in 2003 while working as press secretaries for different members of the House from the state of Virginia.

Kelly currently serves as senior executive adviser of external affairs to U.S. Secretary of Health and Human Services Michael Leavitt. Among her areas of focus: health insurance access, value-driven health care and health information technology. Prior to that, she was director of the Office of Policy for HHS’ Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services under CMS administrator Mark McClellan.

“We are building a culture at NACDS that is focused on achieving results…through collective staff accountability, and true integration of policy, state and federal government affairs, grassroots, communications, coalition-building and expertise in pharmacy practice and front-end issues,” Anderson said. “We are enthusiastic about her taking the helm of a newly aligned department that is poised to deliver results.”

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Stick Me Designs adds style to glucose meter bags

BY Michael Johnsen

VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. Stick Me Designs, an emerging accessory designer of diabetes glucose carrying cases for women, teens and children, announced the launch of their glucose meter bag collection Friday.

“While the medical supply industry is busy working on adding color, convenience and function to their meters, they’ve forgotten the most important aspect of their portability—the carrying case,” stated Rickina Velte, founder of Stick Me Designs. “We’ve taken on the task of infusing design, style and function that adds personality to an everyday necessity for people with diabetes.”

The new diabetes bags offer choices in color, fabrics, design and functionality.

The first collection features four contemporary designs created for the One Touch Ultra glucose meter and other more traditional larger-style testing meters. The bags have elastic placeholders for lancet devices, testing strips and glucose tabs or candy. They also feature interior open and zippered pockets for such everyday essentials as credit cards, identification, money, sanitizing wipes and an outside zipper pocket for other essentials.

Stick Me Designs’ introductory collection also features hand-selected faux suedes, designer upholsteries and cotton fabrics in retro and contemporary styles and colors.

Suggested retail prices will range from $32.99 to $45.99, the company reported.

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Continucare opens first clinic at Navarro

BY Antoinette Alexander

MIAMI Continucare Corp. has announced the opening of its first ValuClinic in-store health clinic within a Navarro Discount Pharmacy in Hollywood, Fla.

Similar to many other retail-based clinic models, the walk-in clinic will treat acute conditions and will be staffed by nurse practitioners and physician assistants.

According to Gabe Navarro, chief executive officer of the Miami-based pharmacy chain, Continucare was on the verge of opening a few locations in the recently acquired Sedano’s stores, so Navarro proceeded with the openings.

In October, it was announced that Navarro Discount Pharmacy would merge its operations with Sedano’s Pharmacy & Discount Store. Sedano’s is a Hispanic drug retail company with 11 pharmacies in the southern Florida market. Combined, the entity has more than 30 stores with annual revenues of more than $350 million. All of the stores are operating under the Navarro banner in the southern Florida market.

According to Navarro, plans call for Continucare to have three ValuClinics open in Navarro stores by the end of the year. It expects to have a total of 15 clinics in operation in 2008.

In late 2006 it was announced that Navarro had partnered with Express Clinics to introduce in-store health clinics to the southern Florida market; however, it is possible that partnership will come to an end.

“It is uncertain whether Express Clinics will continue to operate clinics in our stores,” Navarro told Drug Store News. “[We] should know more in the coming weeks.”

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