PHARMACY

Walgreens firms up management ranks to bolster health, marketing capabilities

BY Jim Frederick

DEERFIELD, Ill. Making good on a promise to rejuvenate its focus on customer needs and emerging opportunities in the broader arena of integrated health care and pharmacy services, Walgreen Co. named three executives to its senior management team. And, in a striking departure from its traditional pattern of hiring from within, all three come from outside the company.

Bryan Pugh, a 25-year retail veteran with experience at Tesco, Wal-Mart Stores and other operations, has joined Walgreens as vice president of format development, a new post. His role, according to the company, will be “focusing on affordable and essential merchandise, including basic staples such as food items, paper products and other consumables.”

Health care and consumer packaged-goods veteran Colin Watts has enlisted as vice president and president of Walgreens Health and Wellness disease management, another new post. Watts will be responsible for developing “the business model, strategy and capabilities necessary for Walgreens to address the growth opportunity in prevention and population health management for patients across all of Walgreens platforms,” the company noted Monday, including its drug stores, retail health clinics, worksite health centers, pharmacy benefit management services and specialty and home care centers.

To beef up its managed-care marketing opportunities, Walgreens has also inducted Jeffrey Zavada as a vice president and chief sales officer with responsibility for selling health care services to managed care organizations and other payers. Zavada comes to Walgreens from UnitedHealthcare Group, Inc., where he was national vice president of key accounts.

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AstraZeneca seeks approval for use of Nexium in infants

BY Alaric DeArment

NEW YORK AstraZeneca has submitted a supplemental application to the Food and Drug Administration for the use of the drug Nexium as a short-term treatment of gastroesophageal reflux disease in infants.

GERD, which is closely related to acid-reflux disease, affects about 7 million children in the United States.

The FDA has already approved Nexium (esomeprazole magnesium) for use in children between 1 and 17 years of age, though AstraZeneca hopes to have it approved in infants less than a year old.

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Amgen applies for FDA approval of denosumab osteoporosis, cancer treatment

BY Alaric DeArment

THOUSAND OAKS, Calif. Amgen has submitted an approval application to the Food and Drug Administration for denosumab, a treatment for women with postmenopausal osteoporosis and patients undergoing hormone ablation for prostate and breast cancer, the biotech company announced Friday.

The approval application contains data from six phase 3 trials involving more than 11,000 patients, the company said. Amgen also plans to submit applications in Canada, Australia, the European Union and Switzerland.

“Today’s submission marks a significant step toward realizing our goal of making this important therapeutic available to patients at risk for fractures, for whom there is a significant need for new therapies,” Amgen EVP for research and development Roger Perlmutter said.

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