Organization restructures, acquisitions keep Walgreens top of game
WHAT IT MEANS AND WHY IT’S IMPORTANT Walgreens hasn’t finished knocking down its organizational silos.
(THE NEWS: Integrating health solutions for payers, Walgreens unifies pharmacy, wellness, led by Crawford. For the full story, click here)
The latest move came Monday, when the drug store and health services giant revealed the full outlines of its massive restructuring of all its healthcare operations.
The changes included the promotions of at least three execs and the elimination of one high-level — but now apparently redundant — position. They cap an 18-month effort by Walgreens to pull together and streamline its powerful but formerly scattered assets in traditional and specialty pharmacy, home care, employer- and retail-based clinical care and institutional pharmacy, among other strengths — and present those assets as a unified set of solutions to PBMs, physicians, health provider networks, employers and other health plan payers.
The realignment thrusts veteran Walgreens EVP Kermit Crawford into a newly expanded and critical role as head of all pharmacy-related services. That includes not only the company’s 7,179 drug store pharmacies — which Crawford already oversaw before the reorganization — but also, going forward, Walgreens’ specialty pharmacy, infusion pharmacy, mail service pharmacy, medical campus pharmacies, long-term care pharmacy and home care services.
That makes Crawford ultimately responsible not only for optimizing performance at all the company’s broad-based pharmacy operations, but for finding new ways to integrate those operations more effectively on behalf of the health plan payers and managed care groups that rely on Walgreens for various kinds of pharmacy services for their members. In the words of Walgreens president and CEO Greg Wasson, Crawford’s job will be to “ensure that we provide premier service, cohesively and comprehensively across our full range of pharmacy operations.”
The shuffle in responsibilities, however, left Walgreens Health Services president Stan Blaylock without a chair when the music stopped. However, Blaylock, leaves on a solid footing. A noted healthcare entrepreneur who came to Walgreens only four years ago via its purchase of the company he founded, Medmark Specialty Pharmacy Solutions, he’s credited by Wasson with providing the experience and know-how to guide the chain’s rapid growth in specialty pharmacy and home care.
“He helped to nurture and grow these businesses…into mature entities, where they can now be fully integrated into our pharmacy operations,” said Walgreens’ CEO.
The list of those entities grew again this week, adding yet more clout to Walgreens’ specialty pharmacy delivery capabilities. On Wednesday, the company said it had completed its deal to buy Cardinal Health’s SpecialtyScripts LLC subsidiary. The purchase of SpecialtyScripts, based in Fall River, Mass., gives the company another outlet and additional expertise in dispensing and administering specialized medications for chronic illnesses and complex diseases like hepatitis C, psoriasis, rheumatoid arthritis and oral oncology.
That's why Walgreens is the best.
Bristol-Myers Squibb discusses pipeline with investors
NEW YORK Aims of becoming a leader in biotechnology headlined a meeting Thursday between Bristol-Myers Squibb and investors as the drug maker highlighted a pipeline of late-stage and early-development drugs.
Like many big drug companies, Bristol has focused on beefing up its pipeline as it faces big patent expirations over the next few years, particularly for the anti-clotting drug Plavix (clopidogrel). The company has particularly high hopes for investigative compounds to treat Alzheimer’s disease and hepatitis C.
“I am fully confident in our ability to deliver on our three major strategic imperatives – driving our performance in the next few years, improving our earnings base in 2013 and sustaining growth in 2014 and beyond,” said Bristol president and COO Lamberto Andreotti, who will soon replace James Cornelius as CEO. “We have important strategic, operational and financial levers which will allow us to fully realize our potential as a biopharma leader, and to deliver on our near-term and long-term growth opportunities.”
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NCPA survey finds pharmacists helped customers weather the (winter) storm
ALEXANDRIA, Va. A recent survey by the National Community Pharmacists Association indicated that local pharmacists stepped up to the plate to make sure that patients’ healthcare needs were met during the 2009-2010 winter season.
NCPA polled 85 community pharmacies in 26 snow-plagued states over a seven-day period in February, while much of the East Coast was still digging out from snow storms and some areas braced for additional winter precipitation.
The survey findings reveal a deep commitment to continue serving patients despite the trying circumstances:
- 79% managed to maintain normal business hours, with some pharmacies opening early or staying late as necessary. Some used generators to supply power and remain open. Others extended phone services to meet emergency needs
- 36% expanded their pharmacy’s home delivery service area to accommodate additional patients. Sometimes this included traversing unplowed roads in four-wheel-drive vehicles or picking up groceries for homebound patients
- 45% witnessed an increase in the number of patients needing emergency fills due to the lack of mail service. Meeting this need usually required either contacting the physician or a lengthy phone call to the insurance company or pharmacy benefit manager for an override. In other cases, pharmacists provided a short-term supply at no cost to the patient and without reimbursement to the community pharmacy.
“These community pharmacists truly stepped up when the patient need was greatest,” said Joseph Harmison, NCPA president. “That commitment is one reason why pharmacists are consistently among the public’s most-trusted professions.”
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