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Walgreens’ senior suite goes global

BY Michael Johnsen

DEERFIELD, Ill. — Walgreens on Tuesday announced several new senior management roles, including an expanded role for CFO Wade Miquelon and the appointment of current SVP and chief strategy officer Robert Zimmerman as the lead executive responsible for the Walgreens-Alliance Boots’ "synergy team." Succeeding Zimmerman as chief strategy officer will be Brad Fluegel.

“These new roles will allow us to move forward aggressively, working closely together with Alliance Boots, to implement our strategic partnership and realize the extensive synergies from the acquisition, as well as accelerate our core growth strategies to achieve our purpose to help people get, stay and live well,” Walgreens president and CEO Greg Wasson said. “The changes also reflect Walgreens high level of confidence in our senior management team, with a mix of internally and externally developed talent, to execute the strategic partnership with Alliance Boots and major initiatives across the company efficiently and effectively.”

With the announcement, Miquelon will assume an expanded and global leadership role at Walgreens as EVP/CFO and leading a newly named value creation services and international division in the role of international president. As he continues to lead Walgreens finance functions as CFO, Miquelon now will serve as Wasson’s senior leader in collaborating with Alliance Boots management team to execute the new global strategic partnership. 

Zimmerman now will lead a new global mergers and acquisitions “synergy team” as SVP international and international chief administration officer. In his new role as Walgreens key project leader on the Alliance Boots partnership, Zimmerman will also serve on the Alliance Boots board of directors. “As our chief strategy officer for several years, Bob has been critical in helping us to evolve our core growth strategies, which is why I’ve asked him to take on this role heavily focused on ensuring we execute with excellence on this transformative and critical transaction,” Wasson said.

Joining the company as SVP and chief strategy officer is Fluegel, who was executive in residence at Health Evolution Partners prior to joining Walgreens, and previously served as EVP and chief strategy and external affairs officer of Wellpoint, one of the nation’s largest health benefits company, where he was responsible for long-term strategic planning, government affairs, corporate communications, including public relations, corporate development, international expansion, innovation and new business ventures. In addition to serving as Walgreens chief strategy officer, Fluegel also will lead the company’s project management office and corporate consulting team, as well as work together with Zimmerman on the company’s venture capital efforts.

As part of the Alliance Boots announcement in June, Walgreens stated that it expects combined synergies across both companies of between $100 million and $150 million in the first year and $1 billion by the end of 2016. To carry out a focused effort to capture those synergies, the company is setting up six new “global synergy teams” in Miquelon’s new organization that will work closely with Alliance Boots.

In addition to Zimmerman’s global mergers and acquisitions team, the additional global synergy teams will oversee global value creation, global projects, new markets and international expansion, and procurement and pharmaceutical development.

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HHS releases early detection system through Twitter

BY Michael Johnsen

WASHINGTON — The Department of Health and Human Services last week unveiled a new free Web-based application, MappyHealth, which utilizes Twitter to help track health concerns at the community level in real time.

“Having real-time information available in the public domain through social media like Twitter could be revolutionary for health officials watching out for the first clues to new, emerging infectious diseases in our communities and for modernizing our public health system,” stated Nicole Lurie, assistant secretary for preparedness and response and a rear admiral in the U.S. Public Health Service. “We were excited to receive so many innovative submissions to our challenge because our goal is to stimulate creativity in the market so that better tools develop to improve public health surveillance locally and worldwide.”

MappyHealth is the winning submission of 33 applicants in a developers’ challenge, “Now Trending: #Health in My Community,” sponsored by HHS’s Office of the Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response. Health officials can use data they gain through the app to complement other health surveillance systems in identifying emerging health issues and as an early warning of possible public health emergencies in a community.

The challenge grew from a request made by local health officials to ASPR for help in developing a Web-based tool that could make social media monitoring more accessible to local health departments. Studies of the 2009 H1N1 pandemic and the Haiti cholera outbreak demonstrated that social media trends can indicate disease outbreaks earlier than conventional surveillance methods. However, many Web-based apps look back after a disease outbreak, rather than attempting to identify health trends as they emerge in real time.

The MappyHealth development team wins a $21,000 prize for the application. The new application will be available in the next few weeks to state, territorial, tribal and local health agencies.

The Now Trending challenge was the second public health challenge sponsored by ASPR in the past year. Through the first challenge, the ASPR Facebook Lifeline App Challenge, developers designed a new Facebook application, bReddi, that could enhance individual and community resilience by establishing social connections in advance of an emergency. The winning lifeline apps became available June 1 on Facebook to help people create and share preparedness plans and get support from friends and family in any type of emergency.


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Omron launches nonprescription TENS device into mass retail

BY Michael Johnsen

LAKE FOREST, Ill. — Omron Healthcare on Tuesday introduced a new electrotherapy solution for muscle and joint pain relief called the Omron ElectroTherapy Pain Relief unit.

“There are as many as 100 million people in the U.S. with acute or chronic pain,” Omron senior product manager Maureen Perou said. “What’s different about this product is that it demystifies and simplifies a time-tested therapy. It’s like having a physical therapist by your side whenever you need it.”

Utilizing TENS (transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation) technology, the Omron ElectroTherapy device is easy to use and helps relieve pain wherever it is needed most. The pads for the Omron ElectroTherapy unit are placed near the site of the pain and safely deliver gentle, massage-like pulses to alleviate stiff, achy, or sore muscles or joints.

The TENS device has been cleared by the Food and Drug Administration cleared and is being launched in conjunction with a new educational website, Omronpainrelief.com.

Suggested retail price for the device will be $69.99.


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