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Report: Standards for glucose monitors may change

BY Michael Johnsen

NEW YORK Federal officials may soon require improvements for the glucose monitors used by more than 11 million diabetics in the United States, the New York Times has reported.

Home glucose monitors, which can have an error rate of as much as 20%, can leave patients vulnerable to more dire consequences, including coma and death. Because of this, the Food and Drug Administration is seeking out The International Organization for Standardization to revise the international standards for such glucose monitoring systems.

In May, the American Association of Clinical Endocrinologists urged that revisions be made in a letter to said officials. “Because of the highly variable quality of the meters and the glucose testing strips in widespread use, the safety of our patients who depend upon those meters is threatened,” they wrote.

An organization representing the monitor manufacturers, however, believes that the current standards are working. Meanwhile, a study by government researchers found that when comparing tests from five different popular monitors, results varied by as much as 32%, the New York Times reported.

According to the New York Times, diabetes has been diagnosed in 18 million people in the United States, and another 6 million are estimated to have the disease without knowing it. It is the seventh leading cause of death and costs the United States an estimated $174 billion a year, with the federal Medicare program spending $1 billion on diabetes test strips alone.

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Fred Canning: Life in retailing

BY Jim Frederick

NEW YORK —When Fred Canning retired as president and COO of Walgreens, one overriding question arose among many people both inside and outside the company: Was anyone big enough to fill the shoes of this legendary retail leader? It’s a measure of Canning’s impact on drug store retailing, and a credit to his successor Dan Jorndt, that he was up to the job.

Canning, the architect of Walgreens’ turnaround in the 1970s and 1980s, died peacefully at Lake Forest Hospital in Illinois June 28 of complications from cancer. He was 85.

In a little over three decades, Canning rose from stock clerk, making 49 cents an hour, to top manager of the company under chairman and CEO Charles R. Walgreen III. He was part of a century-long line of highly skilled and charismatic executives who ran day-to-day operations at the nation’s premier drug chain. But Canning ranks at or near the top of that line for leading Walgreens through a top-to-bottom turnaround at the company and guiding it to a preeminent position as the nation’s premier drug store retailer.

Canning was the company’s president and COO from 1978 to 1990. Under his leadership, Walgreens shed such distracting sideline businesses as discount stores and restaurants, beefed up its store expansion strategy and refocused on its core drug store operations. Upon Canning’s retirement, Walgreens was a rejuvenated retail behemoth with a proven track record for sales and earnings growth, a reputation for retail innovation and unrivaled leadership of the U.S. drug store industry.

Canning’s impact on Walgreens extended to the investment world, as well. During his tenure, the company’s stock delivered steady returns as its financial performance turned predictably golden, and the loyalty he engendered among Walgreens’ shareholders—from big institutional investors to retirees holding a couple of hundred shares—became a thing of legend. His presence at the company’s annual meetings was electric; at his last gathering as president, investors gave him two standing ovations.

“For Walgreens, Fred Canning was the right man for the right time,” said Laurie Meyer, who recently retired as Walgreens’ divisional VP corporate communications. “He set Walgreens up for the success and expansion that we enjoyed in the ‘90s. He loved being in the stores; that was really where his heart was. Fred knew where the company made its money, and it wasn’t in the office—it was in the stores.”

That instinct for staying one step ahead of customer needs and expectations served Walgreens well. Canning encouraged flawless execution of headquarters strategy in the stores, brought in many of the highly skilled merchandising and operations executives who would lead the company into the next century and insisted on adopting the best cutting-edge technology Walgreens could wield in its pharmacies, its forecasting and replenishment systems, and its increasingly sophisticated supply-chain operations.

Those contributions made a huge impact on the company he helped lead, said his friend and former colleague, Charles R. “Cork” Walgreen III. “Fred was a true, supportive friend, key in building a cohesive team that would clear the way for future company expansion,” Walgreen told Drug Store News. “We wouldn’t have known the growth we had without Fred Canning. Our stockholders never had a better ally. He was always there when we needed him, and he left us a wonderful guidepost to follow. His former co-workers will miss him. And my family and I have lost a dear and loyal friend.”

Steve Anderson, president and CEO of the National Association of Chain Drug Stores, called Canning “an industry visionary…[whose] use of innovation and technology were trend-setting.”

Canning’s son Tim, who is president of McKesson Corp.’s Health Mart retail franchise, cited his father’s accomplishments. “The hallmark of his career was the management team that he assembled and the leadership that he provided to leverage [its] collective strengths,” added the younger Canning. “As Fred often stated, ‘I’ve been one of the team. You don’t win the game if you don’t have the players.’”

Canning is survived by his wife Margaret, with whom he shared 64 years of marriage, along with their eight children, 21 grandchildren and two great grandchildren. In lieu of flowers, contributions may be made to Church of St. Mary, 175 E. Illinois Rd., Lake Forest, Ill., or the American Cancer Society’s Lake County Regional Office at 100 Tri-State International, Ste. 125, Lincolnshire, Ill., 60069.

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AANP honors Sandy Ryan as a 2009 Fellow

BY Antoinette Alexander

CONSHOHOCKEN, Pa. —Take Care Health Systems’ Sandy Ryan, who has been instrumental in the growth and success of the convenient care industry as the industry’s first chief nurse practitioner, has been honored by the American Academy of Nurse Practitioners for her outstanding contributions to health care.

The AANP honored Ryan as a 2009 Fellow during the 24th AANP National Conference in Nashville, Tenn., in June.

Ryan, who has more than 25 years of nursing experience and 16 years of leadership experience in the U.S. Air Force, is an industry trailblazer. She leads Take Care’s clinical forces, including nearly 1,300 board certified nurse practitioners and physician assistants.

“We’re incredibly fortunate to have a leader and healthcare professional of Sandy’s caliber at Take Care Health Systems,” stated Peter Miller, president and CEO of Take Care Health Systems. “Her pioneering spirit and vast array of experience has allowed us to harness the diversified skill-set and patient-centric knowledge of the nurse practitioner community, which in turn enables us to become part of a solution to the healthcare crisis that’s currently facing the United States.”

Added Tine Hansen-Turton, executive director of the Convenient Care Association, “Sandy’s leadership and clinical expertise has been extremely valuable in shaping the convenient care industry as we strive to provide true healthcare access points for millions of [Americans]. The [AANP’s recognition] is well deserved as Sandy continues to be a powerful voice in the healthcare community, creating the framework to allow nurse practitioners to do what they do best—compassionately and holistically treat patients.”

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