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Executive Summary

PCS PICKS CALIFORNIA PHARMACISTS ASSOCIATION's JOHNSON AS NEW TOP EXEC beginning in February. Johnson's resignation as executive VP of the California Pharmacists Association after 20 years becomes effective immediately after the association's annual meeting in Sacramento. The presidency of the Pharmaceutical Card Service has been filled on an acting basis by parent company McKesson's Chairman Alan Seelenfreund and his predecessor Thomas Field since Donald Dahlin vacated the post last summer to join Medco. Johnson is reportedly considering bringing two CPhA officials with him to PCS: John Skahl and Robert Abrams. Skahl is executive VP of the association's Pharmaceutical Care Network buying group subsidiary. Abrams, a former executive with PAID Prescriptions, Medco's prescription drug claims processing business, joined PCN earlier this year ("The Pink Sheet" Jan. 2, "In Brief"). McKesson is one of the original wholesalers to participate in the PCN program. In selecting a pharmacy leader to head PCS, McKesson is making a strong move to modify organized pharmacy and assure its representation in corporate decisions. PCS recently angered at least one pharmacy association, NARD, when a PCS advertisement proclaimed its support of the profession despite market "pressures" that have forced the firm to discount AWP-based prescription drug reimbursements. NARD criticized the ad's attempt to "explain away" the confiscation of "pharmacists' earned discounts" ("The Pink Sheet" Aug. 7, p. 14). Before hiring Johnson, McKesson had considered divesting its 86% stake in PCS. As part of that review, McKesson reportedly discussed a wide range of affiliations with three national associations: NARD, the National Association of Chain Drug Stores and the American Pharmaceutical Association ("The Pink Sheet" Dec. 11, p. 18). The potential impact on PCS of Johnson's history as a pharmacy advocate remains to be seen. Observers within the profession are hoping that he will stress pharmacists' personal services over price cuts in developing a strategy for competing with mail-order pharmacies for health plans offering prescription drug benefits. Johnson and CPhA recently were among the cosponsors of a position paper, "California Pharmacy Plan for the 1990s," which urges that for all patients, pharmacists should provide medication profiles and personal counseling and take direct responsibility for drug therapy outcomes.

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