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Walgreens, Express Scripts reach agreement on two plans in Puerto Rico

BY Michael Johnsen

SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico — MMM Healthcare and PMC Medicare Choice on Friday announced that MMM and PMC members will continue to have access to the Walgreens pharmacy network. Walgreens and Express Scripts have reached an agreement specifically regarding these plans in Puerto Rico, according to a Walgreens spokesperson.

"We are extremely satisfied that Express Scripts, our pharmacy services administrator, and Walgreens were able to reach an agreement so that the MMM and PMC members can continue accessing Walgreens pharmacies," MMM and PMC president Orlando Gonzalez said. "Although we have an ample pharmacy network, our main interest is to ensure that our members have adequate and timely access to their medications on the Island or when they travel stateside."

"This contract will enable us to continue providing our convenient, accessible pharmacy services to the thousands of MMM and PMC members in Puerto Rico after Dec. 31, and is evidence of the commitment Walgreens has in working with our partners to continue serving our patients and customers," Walgreens president of pharmacy, health and wellness services Kermit Crawford said.

MMM Healthcare is one of the leading companies in the Medicare Advantage segment on the Island, with more than 153,000 covered lives and more than 8,000 providers. The company was the first plan authorized by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services to serve the Medicare Advantage market in Puerto Rico.

A sister plan to MMM, PMC Medicare Choice provides extended benefits to the Medicare population. Founded in 2004, PMC covers more than 47,000 lives through a broad network of more than 8,000 contracted primary care physicians, specialists, hospitals and other points of care across Puerto Rico.


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CEW names Unilever’s Gina Boswell 2011 Achiever of the Year in beauty

BY Antoinette Alexander

ENGLEWOOD CLIFFS, N.J. — Unilever’s Gina Boswell, who was recently appointed EVP personal care for North America, has been selected as a 2011 Achiever of the Year, one of the highest awards bestowed in the beauty industry, by nonprofit Cosmetic Executive Women.

This year’s honorees will be feted Oct. 14 at the Waldorf Astoria in New York.

Formerly as president of global brands for Alberto-Culver, Boswell oversaw all global brands for the company, including Tresemmé, Nexxus, St. Ives and Noxzema, as well as marketing, research and development, package design and consumer insights. Unilever acquired Alberto-Culver in May 2011. 

In her new role, Boswell is responsible for all brand and marketing activities for the $4.5 billion personal care portfolio, which is made up of hair care, deodorant, skin cleansing and skin care categories.


“I am thrilled to have been selected as one of this year’s honorees among some of the cosmetics industry’s most talented women,” Boswell said. "I’m personally inspired by each of these individuals and so proud of the impact we all make on the industry and the example we set as women leaders."

The CEW Achiever Awards were established in 1975 to honor leading women executives who have contributed significantly to the growth of the beauty industry and the advancement of women. The CEW board of governors votes on honorees annually, and awards are presented at the Achiever Awards event.

Previously, Boswell was recognized as one of the top 15 women in business by the Forte Foundation and Pink Magazine. She also serves on the board of directors for Manpower and the YMCA of the USA, and she was named a Henry Crown Fellow of the Aspen Institute in 2005.

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Study: People with optimal levels of vitamin D have lower diabetes incidence

BY Michael Johnsen

NEUHERBERG, Germany — Scientists at the Helmholtz Zentrum München have shown that people with good vitamin D status have a lower risk of developing Type 2 diabetes, according to a study released Sept. 30.

The study, carried out in collaboration with the German Diabetes Center in Düsseldorf and the University of Ulm, will be published in the October issue of the journal Diabetes Care.

New research on participants of the study by the Cooperative Health Research in the Region of Augsburg (KORA) has shown that people with good vitamin D status have a lower risk of developing Type 2 diabetes. Inversely, people with too low levels of vitamin D in the blood have an elevated risk. This effect may be partly due to the anti-inflammatory effect of vitamin D, the authors reported.

“Vitamin D deficiency is relatively common in Germany because of modern lifestyle factors and the geographic latitude," stated Barbara Thorand of the Institute of Epidemiology II of Helmholtz Zentrum München. "Especially during the winter months, vitamin D levels are often inadequate due to the lack of sunlight,” she noted. “If follow-up studies confirm our findings, a targeted improvement of the vitamin D status of the population could also reduce the risk of diabetes.” 

More than 6 million people in Germany have Type 2 diabetes, the number of undiagnosed cases could be equally high, the report noted.


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