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Hannaford: Sign up for Healthy Saver Plus, get discount on produce

BY Antoinette Alexander

SCARBOROUGH, Maine — Hannaford Supermarkets is promoting its Healthy Saver Plus Program — which provides patients with cost savings on prescriptions, diabetic supplies and more — by offering $10 off on produce for new members.

According to the grocer’s website, the offer lasts through the end of March at any Hannaford pharmacy.

The program costs $7 a year and members receive such benefits as savings on prescription medications, savings on immunizations and savings on select diabetic testing supplies and children’s fluoride tablets at no cost.

 

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Study finds vitamin D boosts breast cancer survival

BY Antoinette Alexander

SAN DIEGO — According to recently released research, breast cancer patients were twice as likely to survive the disease if they had high levels of vitamin D in their blood.

University of California, San Diego School of Medicine researchers reported the findings in the March issue of Anticancer Research.

“Vitamin D metabolites increase communication between cells by switching on a protein that blocks aggressive cell division,” said Cedric F. Garland, professor in the department of family and preventive medicine. “As long as vitamin D receptors are present, tumor growth is prevented and kept from expanding its blood supply. Vitamin D receptors are not lost until a tumor is very advanced. This is the reason for better survival in patients whose vitamin D blood levels are high.”

In prior studies, Garland showed that low vitamin D levels were linked to a high risk of premenopausal breast cancer. That finding, he said, prompted him to question the relationship between 25-hydroxyvitamin D — a metabolite produced by the body from the ingestion of vitamin D — and breast cancer survival rates.

Garland and colleagues then performed a statistical analysis of five studies of 25-hydroxyvitamin D obtained at the time of patient diagnosis and their follow-up for an average of nine years. Combined, the studies included 4,443 breast cancer patients.

Women in the high serum group had an average level of 30 nanograms per milliliter (ng/ml) of 25-hydroxyvitamin D in their blood. The low group averaged 17 ng/ml. The average level in patients with breast cancer in the United States is 17 ng/ml, researchers said.

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CMS won’t move ahead with some proposed Medicare drug plan changes

BY Antoinette Alexander

WASHINGTON — The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services has decided not to move forward on several of the proposed provisions of the Medicare Advantage and Part D prescription drug program, according to reports.

According to a letter sent to Congress by CMS administrator Marilyn Tavenner and obtained by Kaiser Health News, during the rule’s recent comment period the agency received concerns about some elements of the proposal, including plans to lift the protected class definition on three drug classes and to set standards on Medicare Part D plans’ requirements to participate in preferred pharmacy networks.

CMS stated in the letter that, “given the complexities of these issues and stakeholder input, we do not plan to finalize these proposals at this time.”

However, the letter noted that CMS does plan to finalize proposals related to consumer protections, anti-fraud provisions that have bipartisan support and transparency after taking into account the comments received during the public comment period.
 

 

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