Abbreviated food packaging saves producers millions in plastic
CHICAGO Simple modifications such as slimmer, lighter water bottles, reduced cap sizes on recloseable soft drink bottles and smaller-sized salad dressing containers are saving food makers millions of dollars, according to some major U.S. food distribution and production companies.
According to reports, companies such as Kraft Foods and Atlanta-based Coca-Cola have slimmed down plastic containers and cap sizes and shaved off a penny here and there from each food item they produce. Coke and Dasani water bottle caps, for examples, have been trimmed to be 24 percent more lightweight than those produced about a year ago. Also, Kraft’s salad dressing bottles have been redesigned to now use 19 percent less plastic. The smaller bottlers also require less packaging for shipping because they take up less space.
Some companies have said that these seemingly minute changes to packaging may help offset the steadily rising costs of food commodities that have been causing the nationwide inflation in food prices to speed up since the 1990s.
Coca-Cola has said that last year it reduced its plastic usage by 4 million pounds due to the design of the smaller cap. Kraft said that its plastic consumption was cut by around 3.4 million pounds per year by the remodel of its salad dressing bottles.
Court rules against Watson in Naprelan case
CORONA, Calif. The United States District Court for the Southern District of Florida ruled that Watson Pharmaceuticals’ naproxen sodium extended-release tablets, a generic version of the pain medication Naprelan, infringes the brand drug manufacturer’s patent, Watson announced Wednesday.
Elan initially brought the suit in October 1998 after Andrx filed an application for a generic version of the drug. In March 2002, the District Court ruled that Elan’s ‘320 patent was invalid. Watson acquired Andrx in November 2006.
In May 2004, the United States Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit reversed the District Court’s finding of invalidity and remanded the case for further proceedings. In January 2005, Elan filed a related case against Andrx in the United States District Court for the Southern District of Florida alleging that Andrx’s generic drug infringes the patent and is seeking damages for willful infringement. In late 2005, the parties completed briefing the District Court on the validity of the patent and whether Andrx’s product infringes it, and the matter has been under submission to the District Court since then.
Watson said it intends to appeal the ruling.
Watson’s naproxen sodium tablets had sales of $4 million over the year ending June 30, according to IMS data.
Medicare officials predict lower 2009 Part D costs than expected
WASHINGTON Monthly premiums for Medicare’s Part D prescription drug program next year will be lower than expected, Medicare officials announced Thursday.
Based on bids submitted by Part D plans, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services estimated that the average monthly premium that recipients will pay for standard Part D coverage will be $28 – lower than the $44.12 predicted in 2003.
At the same time, it is $3 more than the premium for this year, mainly because of rising drug costs and higher plan estimates for catastrophic coverage and the phase-out of a CMS demonstration project.