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August 04, 2011 - Image 18

Resource type:
The Detroit Jewish News, 2011-08-04

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Assistance in Living...

Spunky CEO

bove and Beyon

Toy frien
old neighbor oo
and make new friends at
the Fleischman ResidenceAM
Blumberg Plaza

Pho tos by A l len Eins te in

NoviXus CEO
Ann Newman
and her son,
V.P. Gene Newman

Ann Newman gets ready to grow jobs,
one mail-order prescription at a time.

Alison Schwartz

Special to the Jewish News


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a residence of


18 August 4 • 2011


of Metropolitan Detroit


or the founders of NoviXus
Pharmacy Services, it just
didn't make sense: a law
preventing the sale of mail-order
prescriptions from pharmacies based
in Michigan meant billions of dollars
were being sent out of state. Local com-
panies had no other option if they were
going to offer money-saving, 90-day
prescriptions to their employees.
In 2004, a study concluded that $1.5
billion was lost to out-of-state mail-
order providers the previous year. And
it appeared this number would
increase with estimates of $2 billion to
$3 billion being lost in recent years.
Something had to change, and Ann
Newman, CEO of Frank W. Kerr Co., an
almost 100-year-old wholesale drug
distribution company in Novi, was
the woman to do it. Newman, owner
of a pharmacy distribution and retail
dynasty, and her three sons are all
involved in Frank W. Kerr Co., Sav-Mor
Pharmacies and Say-On Pharmacies.
According to her eldest son, Gene,
she's "a visionary."
That perspective took her and her
company to Lansing. Along with
retail pharmacies and the Michigan
Pharmacists Association, Frank W.
Kerr Co. lobbied to educate legislators
about the disadvantages of the current
law: stifled job growth, lost revenue
and the inability to compete nationally
with other mail-order pharmacies.
In 2007, the law was eventually
changed and the seeds of NoviXus
were planted. Newman explained

how she put in a call to the late Bill
Davidson, former CEO of Frank W.
Kerr Co., and her first employer in the
United States when she emigrated here
in 1952 from Israel. Oscar Feldman,
then general manager of the company,
hired her as a janitor earning $1.05 an
"I told Bill that I was either going
to be a bum or a hero with the new
business, and I asked him what he
thought. He said, `You have my bless-
ing: I just felt very passionate about
this:' said Newman, 83, an active
member of the Jewish community.
Two years later, NoviXus was born,
a state-of-the-art mail-order and
central-fill pharmacy that uses the
latest advances in robotic technology,
advanced software, highly trained staff
and a patient call center, located with-
in the Frank W. Kerr Co. facility. The
company is able to accurately dispense
500 prescriptions in an hour, with
prescriptions checked and tracked
at multiple points in the process to
ensure the correct prescription is
always dispensed.
Currently set up to dispense 4,000
prescriptions per shift, NoviXus has
the ability to expand to 20,000 pre-
scriptions per day, something that
could become necessary as major local
employers increasingly take notice of
the new company.
Oakland County Executive L. Brooks
Patterson toured the plant on July 19.
"The future for Oakland County will
be businesses that are high-tech and
have knowledge-based jobs:' Patterson
said. "This is one of the most high-
tech businesses I have seen. It is very

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