HEALTH

NCPA taps former GPhA chief Jaeger to succeed Bruce Roberts as next CEO

BY Jim Frederick

ALEXANDRIA, Va. In a highly anticipated move to new leadership, the National Community Pharmacists Association has named pharmacist, attorney and generic drug industry advocate Kathleen Jaeger as its new chief executive. Jaeger, who for the past eight years was president and CEO of the Generic Pharmaceutical Association, succeeds Bruce Roberts, who retired as head of the NCPA in June.

Jaeger’s appointment is effective Nov. 1. Her selection to head the independent pharmacy industry’s top national trade association was announced Sunday by NCPA president Joseph Harmison at the organization’s 112th Annual Convention and Trade Exposition in Philadelphia.

Assuming command of the NCPA in the wake of Roberts’ retirement, Jaeger will have big shoes to fill, given the passion, energy and effectiveness her predecessor brought to the post. But she comes highly prepared: At the GPhA, Jaeger brought a significantly higher level of visibility to the generic industry, along with closer ties with Congress and such federal agencies as the Food and Drug Administration, which paid off in a series of legislative and regulatory victories.

Jaeger also brought a more sophisticated approach to communications and healthcare advocacy on behalf of generic manufacturers, “transforming the association into a powerful voice for the generic industry, developing aggressive and effective public policy, advocacy and communications programs,” the NCPA noted.

“Kathleen brings to NCPA a demonstrated track record of successful advocacy, along with a first-hand pharmacy background,” Harmison said at the conference. “Kathleen’s knowledge of the pharmacy industry and proven Washington expertise make her a perfect fit for NCPA.”

Lonny Wilson, who chairs the NCPA’s executive committee and serves as CEO of Pharmacy Providers of Oklahoma, also praised the group’s new top executive. Jaeger, he asserted, “has the experience, vision and leadership capabilities to take this well-positioned association and guide it to an even brighter future to better serve community pharmacists and their patients.”

For her part, Jaeger said she was “absolutely honored to join NCPA and represent independent community pharmacists and the patients we care for each day. “As the daughter of an independent community pharmacist, and as a pharmacist myself, I understand the critical and growing role neighborhood pharmacies play in our healthcare system, as well as the challenges they face,” she said. “Every day, millions of Americans depend on community pharmacists for quality medicines and expert counseling to feel better and lead more productive lives. We need to ensure that independent community pharmacists are indispensible to America’s healthcare system today, tomorrow and beyond.”

Jaeger’s departure from GPhA followed by several months the enactment of the massive health-reform bill. Among other changes, the new law created a regulatory approval pathway at the FDA for biosimilars, fulfilling a long-sought goal for GPhA and its CEO. That legislative victory came at a price, however: It gave innovator biotech companies 12 years’ data exclusivity in which to market their drugs before the FDA could approve a biosimilar version, rather than the five-year period sought by Jaeger and the generic industry.

Prior to leading the GPhA, Jaeger chaired the food and drug practice for the McKenna and Cuneo law firm and, later, Kirkpatrick and Lockhart. She earned a Juris doctorate from Catholic University and a bachelors in science in pharmacy from the University of Rhode Island.

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Rexall’s efforts sure to pay off

BY Jim Frederick

WHAT IT MEANS AND WHY IT’S IMPORTANT Leave it to our creative retail neighbors to the north to find a fun way to merchandise over-the-counter products and wellness.

(THE NEWS: In sweeping overhaul of its retail mission, Rexall unveils ‘Healthy Living’ prototype. For the full story, click here)

The flagship Rexall division of Canadian drug store giant Katz Group has spent two years crafting a new and appealing approach to the retailing of preventive health products and services and the management of chronic disease. And Tuesday, Rexall Healthy Living Pharmacy was ready for its close-up.

Rexall execs and planners proudly displayed the results of that two-year effort Oct. 19, with a media walk-through at the company’s 16,000-sq.-ft. prototype Healthy Living store in the Toronto suburb of Milton, Ontario. Five top Rexall managers — including CEO Andy Giancamilli, COO Warren Jeffery, marketing and advertising chief Denise Darragh, chief merchant Ron Lalla and Tracey Phillips, head of pharmacy services, marketing and supply — gave Drug Store News an exclusive, nearly hour-long interview to explain the evolution of the new concept and its goals.

Much like what is happening in the United States, the Canadian healthcare system is under duress as costs continue to skyrocket and physicians are overwhelmed by patient caseloads. The new Rexall concept, said ex-pat and former Kmart COO Giancamilli, will “bridge the gap” between patient and doctor by offering up accessible, community-based care by specially trained pharmacists, wellness advisers and skin care experts, and by giving shoppers and patients the information they need to make more informed decisions about products, health services and healthier modes of living.

It’s a tall order. But Rexall’s pharmacy and merchandising teams have labored to make the six Healthy Living pilot stores fun and informative, with interactive kiosks and “health information touch points” scattered throughout the store to guide purchases and provide advice. And among the roughly 20 Rexall employees who staff each of those stores is a healthy living advisor, installed in a specially marked “focal point” station near the front of the store to guide customers through each department.

Rexall called each of the advisers “a specially trained health and customer experience ambassador,” and said they will be key to the expansion of the Healthy Living concept to more stores going forward [including a seventh prototype store, set to open in Kelowna, B.C., in spring 2011]. But the advisers won’t act alone: They’ll be part of “an increased level of interactivity between store staff and customers … throughout the store, including in the Skin Health area,” according to the company.

Also new: Interactive terminals where patients can use touchscreen technology for information on health topics, disease, prevention and OTC medicines.

The goal: to “help Canadians live their healthiest” and “inspire them to take charge of their health,” Lalla said. That means elevating Rexall’s image and draw as a health-and-wellness destination, and building on its already strong links with family physicians.

Some 150 stores within the Katz Group’s 1,800-store retail network across Canada are already linked with doctors’ offices; in some cases, those primary-care physician practices are even housed within the store as walk-in clinics. The partnership likely will expand as the country looks for new solutions to its own healthcare crisis.

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Diamyd Medical to divide business

BY Alaric DeArment

STOCKHOLM Diamyd Medical will split its business into separate divisions for pain relief and diabetes, the drug maker said Friday.

 

The Swedish company said its diabetes business would consist mostly of the investigational antigen-based drug Diamyd, for Type 1 diabetes, while the pain business would comprise of development projects using its nerve-targeting drug delivery system platform to administer drugs directly to the nervous system to treat pain.

 

 

The company will begin the division process during the new 2010-2011 fiscal year.

 

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