PHARMACY

Pfizer, GSK to create HIV-focused company

BY Alaric DeArment

NEW YORK Pfizer and GlaxoSmithKline announced Thursday that they would create a “new world-leading” HIV company focused on research, development and commercialization of medicines for HIV, saying the new company would have a 19% share in the market. GSK will have an 85% equity interest in the company, and Pfizer will have 15%. The announcement did not indicate whether they had chosen a name for the new company.

Pfizer and GlaxoSmithKline announced Thursday that they would create a “new world-leading” HIV company focused on research, development and commercialization of medicines for HIV, saying the new company would have a 19% share in the market. GSK will have an 85% equity interest in the company, and Pfizer will have 15%. The announcement did not indicate whether they had chosen a name for the new company.

“Today marks a definitive step by GSK to renew our focus and deliver more medicines, more efficiently, to people living with HIV/AIDS,” GSK CEO Andrew Witty said in a statement. “At the core of this specialist business is a broad portfolio of products and pipeline assets, which can be more effectively leveraged through the new company’s strong revenue base and dedicated research capability.”

The new company will have a portfolio of 11 drugs already on the market, including Pfizer’s Selzentry (maraviroc) and GSK’s Combivir (lamivudine and zidovudine) and Kivexa (lamivudine and abacavir), which does not have approval in the United States. It will also have six drugs in development, including four in Phase 2 trials.

“By combining Pfizer’s and GlaxoSmithKline’s complementary strengths and capabilities, we are creating a new global leader in HIV and reaffirming our ongoing commitment to the treatment of the disease,” Pfizer CEO Jeff Kindler said in a statement. “With the strength of the companies’ current HIV products, as well as the complementary fit of Pfizer’s HIV pipeline and GSK’s global distribution capabilities, the new company is well-positioned to bring new and improved medicines to patients with more speed and efficiency.”

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PHARMACY

WellPoint executive elected as Academy of Managed Care Pharmacy president

BY Alaric DeArment

INDIANAPOLIS An executive from health insurer WellPoint has been named president of the Academy of Managed Care Pharmacy, WellPoint announced.

Chief pharmacy officer Brian Sweet was elected Wednesday at the AMCP’s annual meeting in Orlando, Fla. The organization represents pharmacists, healthcare practitioners and others who practice in managed care settings.

“Today’s challenging economic times shine a spotlight on the need to justify the value of pharmaceuticals,” Sweet said. “I am excited in my new role to be part of this calling to managed care organizations and pharmaceutical companies to work together for more evidence-based development, technology evaluation standards and information dissemination to patients in consumer-friendly terms.”

Sweet’s term as president will begin in April 2010, WellPoint said.

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AARP/Walgreens Wellness Tour kicks off in the Big Apple

BY Alaric DeArment

NEW YORK Walgreens and AARP have kicked off a national tour with nine buses traveling to 3,000 communities across the country and offering free health screenings.

The AARP/Walgreens Wellness Tour started Tuesday at New York’s Rockefeller Plaza, and Drug Store News got a first-hand look.

The bus had a table outside with free reusable tote bags and pamphlets on chronic diseases, along with forms visitors could use to sign up for the screenings. Inside, the bus featured a small area where visitors could wait before getting screenings in curtained booths for blood glucose, blood pressure, body mass index and bone density. After completing the screenings, visitors were instructed to talk to one of the on-site pharmacists outside, who could discuss whatever conditions the visitors may have had.

This is the fifth year in which Walgreens has offered a health screening tour. Of people screened last year, 72.8% had high blood pressure levels, 13.3% had high blood glucose and 65.9% had low bone density.

To see photos of the AARP/Walgreens Wellness Tour kickoff, click here.

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