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Weis names David Hepfinger to serve as CEO

BY Michael Johnsen

SUNBURY, Pa. Weis Markets on Monday named David Hepfinger, 50, to the additional post of CEO, succeeding Norman Rich, who is retiring.

“This has been a carefully planned succession,” said Jonathan Weis, Weis Markets’ vice chairman. “Since joining our company in February, Dave has had an enormous impact on our company. He is a highly respected executive with broad-based operational experience and he excels at developing and managing a growing and diverse organization in a fast-moving retail environment. In the coming years, he will oversee the development and execution of our strategic growth and go-to-market initiatives.”

Hepfinger, now president and CEO, was Weis’ president and COO prior to the announcement. 

He will report to Weis Markets’ chairman Robert Weis and vice chairman Jonathan Weis.

Prior to joining Weis Markets, Hepfinger was senior vice president of retailing and administration at Price Chopper, a 116-store supermarket chain based in Rotterdam, N.Y.

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Biotech industry may best bad economy

BY Alaric DeArment

NEW YORK The biotech industry may come out of the bad economic climate relatively strong, according to analysis by the Associated Press.

AP noted that biotech stocks were among the safest investments in 2008, and a wave of buyouts of small biotech firms by larger drug makers has prevented the market from collapsing. 

The lack of a means to approve biosimilars has also protected the sector from the generics competition facing larger drug makers.

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Experts tout importance of preconception health care

BY Michael Johnsen

WASHINGTON In collaboration with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, experts representing a variety of professional organizations, including the Association of Women’s Health, Obstetric and Neonatal Nurses; the American College of Nurse-Midwives; the American Academy of Family Physicians; and the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, summarized the evidence supporting preconception health care in a special supplement to the American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology, AWHONN (Association of Women’s Health, etc.) announced last week.

The journal supplement reports on 15 areas, such as infectious disease, immunization, nutrition, environmental exposures and psychosocial stress, in which preconception care can be improved.

The supplement concludes that there is strong evidence to support more screening, health promotion and primary care interventions for women, such as smoking cessation and the intake of folic acid, calcium and other vitamins. “Unfortunately, the current status of preconception care in the United States is far from ideal,” AWHONN stated. “Only one in six obstetrician/gynecologists or family physicians provide preconception care to the majority of the women for whom they provide prenatal or maternity care.”

The CDC defines preconception care as interventions that identify and decrease medical, behavioral and social risks to the health of a woman before conception. For example, women who take medications that may cause birth defects can be counseled to switch to safer medications prior to conception.

“It is critical that every child has a healthy start. Therefore we need fundamental changes in how we provide care to reproductive-aged women,” stated Barbara Moran, president of AWHONN. “Nurses are typically the first and most consistent point of contact in the health care setting,” she said. “They spend more time with patients—up to 4 times on average—than any other health care provider. Nurses are well situated to provide health promotion, risk assessment and counseling within the primary care setting.”

The supplement continues the work of the CDC Expert Panel on the Content of Prenatal Care.

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