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ESI launches suite of services for pharma, biotech companies

BY Alaric DeArment

ST. LOUIS — Pharmacy benefit manager Express Scripts has launched a suite of services for drug makers through HealthBridge Pharma & Biotech to provide a single-solution approach to patient care.

ESI said HealthBridge offered a full range of services to assist pharmaceutical and biotech companies in providing prescription products and services to patients, doctors and pharmacists. These include CuraScript Specialty Pharmacy, CuraScript Specialty Distribution, Freedom Fertility Pharmacy, risk evaluation and mitigation strategies, reimbursement, patient assistance programs, data and sales reporting, enhanced account services and customized adherence programs.

"Through our HealthBridge Pharma & Biotech suite of services, Express Scripts is a taking  bold, unified approach to helping pharmaceutical and biotech companies get their therapies and products to patients and healthcare providers," Express Scripts VP and chief trade relations officer Everett Neville said. "We are committed to providing the highest level of end-to-end services that will facilitate the safe, timely delivery of specialty prescriptions and programs to patients being treated for diseases, such as cancer, rheumatoid arthritis, hemophilia, HIV and multiple sclerosis."


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NAD challenges several Similac Advance claims

BY Michael Johnsen

NEW YORK — The National Advertising Division of the Council of Better Business Bureaus last week determined Abbott Nutrition could support certain advertising claims made for Similac Advance and Similac Sensitive infant formula. However, NAD recommended that Abbott modify or discontinue certain other claims.

NAD determined that Abbott had a reasonable basis for its “No. 1 brand-fed in hospitals” claim.

NAD determined that the claim that Similac Advance is “[s]tudied and proven to be well tolerated in newborns < 14 days old,” as opposed to Enfamil, which “[w]as not studied in newborns (< 14 days old)” is factually accurate and not misleading. However, NAD was troubled by Abbott’s claims that its own prebiotics are “naturally found in breast milk,” as opposed to PDX (Enfamil’s prebiotic), which “is not naturally found in breast milk.” NAD noted that while it is true that GOS, the advertiser’s prebiotic, is found in small amounts in the breast milk of some women, NAD determined that consumers could take away the unsupported message that GOS is found in the breast milk of most or all lactating women. Further, when coupled with Abbott’s claim that Similac Advance has been “studied and proven to be well tolerated in newborns < 14 days old,” the “naturally found in breast milk” claim could connote an unproven safety advantage. Consequently, NAD recommended that the advertiser discontinue this claim.

NAD determined, however, that Abbott lacked a reasonable basis for a long-term bone health superiority claim and recommended the advertiser discontinue the following claim: “Bone mass increases at its fastest rate during the first year. How bones develop during this period and throughout childhood can potentially affect bone health for life. That’s why it’s so important for your baby to get the right amounts of key bone nutrients — like calcium — from the very first day.”

NAD also reviewed the advertiser’s prebiotics claims, which appeared in a two-column print advertisement that juxtaposed Similac Advance, described as “well tolerated in clinical studies” and Enfamil Premium, described as displaying “significant intolerances and adverse events in a clinical study.” NAD noted in its decision that the advertisement “gives the impression that Enfamil Premium is relatively unsafe and unstudied. Also, by juxtaposing the two bar graphs side-by-side, the advertiser creates the impression that the graphs and accompanying text are presenting data that is somehow comparable — and that Enfamil performed far worse than Similac on the measured endpoints.”

NAD noted that a study relied upon by the advertiser did find “adverse events” — as defined by the study authors — and concluded that the advertiser could truthfully promote the results of the study as long it did so in a nonmisleading manner. NAD noted that in the advertising at issue, however, “Abbott highlighted the three ‘adverse’ outcomes and failed to mention the 69 nonadverse outcomes. Abbott also failed to put the study into context by acknowledging the numerous studies that show Enfamil Premium to be safe and well-tolerated.”

Claims made by Abbott Nutrition in print, website advertising and on packaging were challenged before NAD, the advertising industry’s self-regulatory forum, by Mead Johnson & Company, a competing maker of infant formula.


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Portland, Ore., wins Safeway’s ‘America’s Most Natural City’ FB contest

BY Michael Johnsen

PLEASANTON, Calif. — Safeway on Monday named Portland, Ore., as the winner of its "America’s Most Natural City" contest and will donate $20,000 and 25 picnic tables constructed from the Guinness World Record holder for the world’s longest picnic table.

The contest was inspired by Safeway’s commitment to 100% natural products with its new Open Nature line, the grocer stated.

"As with our Open Nature all-natural product line, we looked to our customers to define which cities they considered the most natural," stated Mike Minasi, president of marketing at Safeway. "We wanted to make a positive impact and give back to the parks and recreation organizations. Many of them provide everything from playgrounds to picnic spots, and it was clear that voters shared our passion for preservation of all things natural. We hope that our contest inspires others to give back to their communities in this time of reduced budgets."

Portland won the contest with 1,189 votes. Coming in second and third were Denver and Seattle, respectively, both of which had tremendous community support for the contest. In addition to the monetary donation, Portland will receive 25 picnic tables created from the Guinness World Record holder of the world’s longest picnic table (at 305 ft) which debuted at a recent Safeway event in San Francisco.

"We applaud Safeway for their charitable giving. Portland Parks & Recreation welcomes the generous donation, which will go toward the city’s E-205 Initiative to enhance nature trails and build park amenities, such as children’s playgrounds in the East Portland area," stated Nick Fish, Portland parks commissioner. "These improvements will make a huge impact in historically underserved East Portland."

Launched on Aug. 30, "America’s Most Natural City" contest encouraged Facebook users to vote for one of 15 preselected cities where Safeway and its family of stores have a significant presence in the community. Over the course of the contest, thousands of votes were cast for the cities of Austin, Texas; Baltimore; Chicago; Dallas; Denver; Houston; Los Angeles; Phoenix; Portland, Ore.; Sacramento, Calif.; San Diego; San Francisco; Seattle; Tucson, Ariz.; and Washington, D.C.

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