PHARMACY

Walgreens adds brawn to national retail pharmacy, clinical network

BY Jim Frederick

WHAT IT MEANS AND WHY IT’S IMPORTANT Scale matters.

(THE NEWS: Walgreens names SVP pharmaceutical development, market access. For the full story, click here)

Walgreens steadily has expanded its clout with pharmaceutical vendors and managed care plans as it muscles up its national retail pharmacy and clinical network. The hiring of a pharmaceutical industry veteran to head up its contract negotiations — both on the buy side with Walgreens’ drug manufacturing suppliers and on the sales and service side with third-party payers and health plans — is a clear sign that the retail pharmacy and healthcare powerhouse is ready to flex that market muscle.

Kermit Crawford, president of Walgreens pharmacy services, declared that the company is in full pursuit of nothing less than a transformative role for community pharmacy. The company has worked furiously over the last two years to build up its national clout as both the nation’s largest pharmacy retailer and the premier practitioner of a new model for integrated pharmacy and health.

As SVP pharmaceutical development and market access — another in a growing list of new titles at Walgreens — Berkowitz will be a key member of the company’s health-and-wellness solutions team. That team is charged with developing new pharmacy, preventive, disease management and patient adherence initiatives; integrating them with all the more than 8,200 points of care in Walgreens’ pharmacy and clinical network; and marketing them to employers, managed care plans and the rest of the payer community.

Berkowitz, who comes to Walgreens after having last served as group VP diversified products and global market access at Merck, seems well suited for a role in integrated health care and the search for strategic opportunities and new health solutions at Walgreens.

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PHARMACY

Teva receives complete response letter for Neutroval

BY Alaric DeArment

JERUSALEM The Food and Drug Administration declined to approve a Teva biosimilar, the generic drug maker said Thursday.

 

Teva said it received a complete response letter from the FDA concerning Neutroval (filgrastim), for neutropenia in patients receiving chemotherapy for cancer. The FDA issues complete response letters when it needs additional information before it can approve a drug.

 

 

Neutroval is a biosimilar of Amgen’s Neupogen and is marketed in Europe under the name TevaGrastim.

 

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GSK halts Simplirix trial

BY Alaric DeArment

LONDON British drug maker GlaxoSmithKline has stopped a late-stage trial of a vaccine for genital herpes, citing disappointing results, GSK said Thursday.

 

The company said that while the vaccine Simplirix (herpes simplex vaccine) proved to be safe when administered to women as a prevention for genital herpes disease, it did not prevent infection. GSK had been conducting the phase 3 trial in 8,323 women ages 18 to 30 years in the United States and Canada under a partnership with the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, part of the National Institutes of Health.

 

 

“We would like to express our gratitude toward our partner, [the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases], for [its] proactive collaboration and substantial contribution in the program, and the volunteers for their participation in the study,” GSK VP and director for late clinical development Gary Dubin said.

 

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