Anthem’s top drug executive steps down after just two months

The top executive of Anthem’s Inc.’s new pharmacy benefits management unit has quit his job after just two months to become CEO of a Michigan specialty pharmacy company.

Anthem said Thursday morning that Brian Griffin resigned his position as executive vice president and CEO of its IngenioRx unit, a brand-new division created last fall to negotiate drug prices for its members.

The Indianapolis-based insurer did not provide a reason for Griffin’s resignation. But another company, Diplomat Pharmacy Inc., announced Thursday that it had hired Griffin as CEO and chairman, effective June 4.

Diplomat, based in Flint, Michigan, is the nation’s largest independent provider of specialty pharmacy services, focusing on complex disease areas, such as oncology, inflammatory and autoimmune conditions, blood disorders and hepatitis C.

“Brian is a proven healthcare executive, having served in various leadership roles for many years, including at Express Scripts, Empire BlueCross BlueShield and Anthem, most recently launching its PBM organization,” Diplomat said in a statement.

In Diplomat’s hiring announcement, Griffin made no mention of leaving Anthem just months after taking over its PBM operation, but instead said he felt “both ready and honored” to take the top position at Diplomat.

“This is a time of great opportunity for Diplomat, and I have long admired the company and its innovative approach to driving better health outcomes,” Griffin said.

Diplomat, founded in 1975, went public in 2014. It had revenue last year of $4.48 billion.

Anthem said IngenioRx would be temporarily led by Deepti Jain, the unit’s chief operating officer, who has been with Anthem since 2014. Anthem said Thursday it is launching a search to fill the CEO job at IngenioRx.

Anthem announced in October it was launching the IngenioRx unit after several acrimonious years using Express Scripts to run its drug operations under an outside contract. Anthem had accused Express of overcharging it by billions of dollars.

At the time, Anthem said that by launching its own PBM operation in-house, it would offer a “full suite” of services to customers, such as negotiating drug prices for customers and acting as middlemen in administering complex drug contracts. IngenioRx is scheduled to become fully operational by 2020.

“The launch of IngenioRx will allow us to break through what is now a complex and fragmented landscape,” Joseph Swedish, then CEO of Anthem,” said last fall. “It also positions Anthem to take advantage of a unique opportunity to grow and diversify our business within our existing footprint as well as nationally.”

Swedish stepped down as CEO of Anthem shortly afterward, and the company hired Gail Boudreaux to succeed him. Boudreaux had named Griffin as CEO of IngenioRx in March.

Before his brief tenure at IngenioRx, Griffin, 59, was Anthem’s executive vice president and president of its commercial and specialty business division. He was one of the highest-paid executives at Anthem last year, with a compensation package worth $5.4 million.

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