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CEA study: There is an unmet demand for OTC hearing devices due to regulatory uncertainty

BY Michael Johnsen

 

ARLINGTON, Va. — The Consumer Electronics Association on Thursday released a new study of adult Americans with hearing loss, finding that only 1-in-25 of those surveyed now own personal sound amplification products, and nearly 40% are interested in over-the-counter products to help them hear better. Additionally, more than two-thirds of those consumers want a more streamlined process for purchasing hearing assistance products.
 
The study reported that nearly half of U.S. adults — 98 million Americans — have some degree of hearing loss, ranging from a little hearing difficulty to being diagnosed with hearing loss by a medical professional. While both hearing aids and PSAPs can help consumers hear better in many scenarios, a pair of hearing aids can be cost-prohibitive, ranging in price from $1,000 to $6,000. PSAPs, however, offer consumers an entry point at about one-tenth the cost of hearing aids, from $100 to $600 for each device.
 
“The high cost of hearing aids, the inconvenience and the cost of doctor appointments mean most adults with hearing problems don’t get the hearing assistance they need,” stated Gary Shapiro, president and CEO of CEA. “People with hearing loss deserve more options than just expensive hearing aids. PSAPs are affordable, readily-available and much more in line with what American consumers are willing to spend to hear well.”
 
Among the key findings of the study:
 
  • There is demand for PSAPs among consumers with trouble hearing. While only a fraction of those diagnosed with hearing loss (6%) and those with some or a lot of trouble hearing (4%) currently own a PSAP, nearly two out of five would be interested in purchasing an “over-the-counter” product to help them hear better;
  • More than two-thirds (69%) of adult Americans with hearing difficulty who responded to the survey want the ability to purchase hearing assistance products in the same ways they now buy reading glasses. At the same time, a significant majority (84%) of Americans with hearing difficulty would go to a medical or hearing health care professional to obtain advice;
  • Retailers are the preferred purchase channel for non-prescription hearing devices. Among consumers interested or very interested in purchasing a non-prescription hearing device, three-fourths (73%) are willing to purchase from a drug store, more than half (55%) from a big-box or discount store and almost half (48%) via online channels;
  • Among those interested in purchasing PSAPs, two-in-five (41%) are likely to use the devices every day, in any situation; and
  • Half of PSAP owners use the devices to listen to TV, a quarter use them in other situations and a tenth use PSAPs every day, in any situation.
 
Earlier this year, CEA urged the Food and Drug Administration to take steps to ensure regulatory clarity between hearing aids and PSAPs to enable PSAP manufacturers to effectively market their products to Americans who can benefit from sound amplification.
 
“Federal marketing restrictions have remained mostly unchanged since the late 1970s, despite advances in PSAP technology,” Shapiro said. “The FDA’s proposed PSAP guidance in its current form blurs the distinctions between hearing aids and PSAPs. Without regulatory clarity, the millions of Americans who could benefit from affordable and readily-accessible hearing solutions will remain unaware of the valuable help PSAPs can provide. Those suffering from hearing loss should be able to decide for themselves what technology will give them the most freedom to live — and hear — as they choose.”

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Giant Eagle brings Market District to the west side of Cleveland

BY Michael Johnsen

 

CLEVELAND — Giant Eagle on Thursday celebrated the grand opening of its newest Market District in Strongsville, Ohio. The Strongsville Market District will be the first Market District location serving the west side of Cleveland. The 107,000 square foot Market District is open 24 hours a day, and will offer restaurant-quality dishes, as well as unique meat, produce, cheese and grocery selections from around the globe.
 
“As a company we are excited to be expanding our Northeast Ohio presence. The addition of the Strongsville location marks our third area Market District in just 15 months,” stated Giant Eagle spokesperson, Rob Borella. “The newest location showcases our unique passion for food, with expertly trained Team Members who will help customers to unlock their own culinary potential”.  
 
Star of ABC’s The Chew, culinary expert and restaurateur Mario Batali participated in the grand opening celebration of the Strongsville Market District. Batali was in-store for a pre-registered customer appearance, book signing and cooking demonstration in Market District’s cooking school, promoting his specialty Spicy Ricotta and Tomato “In Corozza” sandwich. This sandwich will be for sale exclusively at the Strongsville Market District during the grand opening weekend with proceeds benefiting the Mario Batali Foundation. Batali joins a long list of the world’s most prominent chefs who have been wowed by the Market District experience, Giant Eagle noted. Martha Stewart called Market District a “veritable retail wonderland,” and Guy Fieri called Market District “the Disneyland of grocery stores”.
 
The Strongsville Market District is the first Cleveland location to offer a state of the art, hands-on cooking school. The cooking school, located on the mezzanine level of the store, provides a place for cooks of all levels to explore new food ideas, share food knowledge, learn techniques, and take a range of classes taught by Market District and celebrity chefs and cookbook authors.
 
The new Strongsville location showcases an in-store restaurant area that combines a modern dining experience in a contemporary rustic atmosphere. A unique highlight of the full service restaurant area is a new electronic direct table delivery system where Market District Team Members deliver meals directly to customers’ tables. The restaurant also offers a full service wine and beer bar that seats 12 and features wine by the glass, microbrews, specialty beers, as well as 18 craft and local beers on tap.
 
In addition, the store offers a wealth of freshly prepared foods including stone hearth-baked pizzas and fresh hand-rolled sushi. The Strongsville Market District brings unique culinary elements to consumers, including an expanded selection of international grocery items, a wide array of conventional, organic and specialty produce, and a vast variety of bulk foods. Customers will be educated and entertained by the ongoing cooking activities and interactive events at the demonstration station. 
 
The new Market District also features an expanded health, beauty and wellness department filled with natural and organic cosmetics, vitamins, supplements and personal care products, and staffed with a licensed skin care professional and a registered dietitian conducting ongoing wellness events and activities.The pharmacy offers free blood pressure medications and free Prenatal Plus vitamins.
 

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McKesson Patient Relationship Solutions research finds that patients seek personalized healthcare information

BY Michael Johnsen

 

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. — New patient research commissioned by McKesson Patient Relationship Solutions identified emerging trends in medication adherence, the use of co-pay cards, and attitudes towards healthcare providers, including both physicians and pharmacists. According to the research, an increasing number of patients do not fully understand their medical condition and are more interested in personal communications from their healthcare practitioners around their condition. And increasingly, that communication is coming from their neighborhood pharmacist. 
 
While patients are concerned about their condition and committed to working to remain healthy, an increasing number do not fully understand their condition. Compared to previous patient research conducted by MPRS, 61% of patients were more concerned about their condition than any other health issue in 2014 versus only 33% in 2011. However, more patients indicated they do not understand their condition compared to 2011. Nearly one-third (31%) of patients wish their doctor would spend more time with them to explain their condition and their medication. While 80% claim to be compliant and take their medications as directed, an increasing number of patients claim to be more forgetful or careless about taking their medication or stop taking it when they feel better. 
 
However, patients are more informed and engaged in their own healthcare than ever before. Research shows that patients are less interested in general information about their condition and more interested in personal communications from various healthcare industry players in the form of missed prescription reminders (89%), refill reminders (87%), live phone support (86%) and pharmacist coaching (83%). This provides an opportunity for physicians, pharmacists, payers and pharmaceutical manufacturers to integrate efforts designed to better manage health and chronic disease, optimize patient outcomes and lower healthcare costs.
 
And patients are increasingly satisfied (94%) with their primary retail pharmacy experience and today, more than half (52%) rely on their pharmacist for information about their medication, including side effects. While physicians (47%) remain the primary source from which patients learn about co-pay cards and discount options, an increasing number are seeking information from their pharmacist (34%) and other sources. More than one third (36%) of patients indicated that they have asked their pharmacist about options for lower cost medications and 71% indicated they would be more likely to fill their prescription if the pharmacist provided a medication discount card/coupon.
 
“Improving medication adherence is a key driver of reform and quality of patient care is rapidly becoming a primary metric for how healthcare providers are evaluated. Through the application of innovative behavioral techniques designed to help patients overcome both financial and clinical barriers to adherence, we are extremely proud to offer a comprehensive suite of programs and solutions designed to help achieve healthier patient outcomes and our research reinforces that success starts with understanding the patient,” stated Derek Rago, VP/general manager, McKesson Patient Relationship Solutions.“As the industry shifts from a transactional healthcare system to a highly integrated, value-based model, the role of the retail pharmacist is rapidly evolving. As one of the most trusted and accessible community healthcare professionals, retail pharmacy is now driving innovation designed to deliver patient education, adherence support, and financial assistance.”
 
The research spanned across six therapeutic categories and findings were compared to MPRS’s 2011 patient research. Highlights of the findings were recently presented at the CBI Coupon and Co-Pay Off-set Strategies conference, where MPRS, a division of McKesson, served as the educational sponsor.
 
In conjunction with American Pharmacists Month, MPRS also announced that it has developed a detailed discussion of the growing role of pharmacists in medication adherence and quality patient care. Download “The Transformation of Pharmacy: Understanding and Leveraging the Rapidly Changing Retail Environment” whitepaper from McKesson. 
 

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