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Jones Soda expands footprint

BY Ryan Chavis

SEATTLE — Jones Soda Co. announced an expansion to its line of natural sodas into the Pacific Northwest, Texas and Canada. The beverage initially launched in California during 2013 to meet a high demand for healthier beverage options.

The natural line now has a new name, Jones Stripped, which features more vibrant packaging. The beverage is sweetened with natural sweeteners like pure cane sugar, organic agave syrup and stevia.

“We are very excited to expand our natural line of sodas to new markets as we continue to build our pure cane Jones Soda and zero calorie Jones Soda Zilch in our focus markets,” stated Jennifer Cue, CEO. “We at Jones are proud of our portfolio of products that offers something for every consumer.” 

Jones Stripped will be available in the Pacific Northwest division of Whole Foods, as well as the state of Texas, where it will be available through the grocery chain H-E-B. Select markets in Canada will begin to see the product arrive on shelves as well.

 

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Mission Pharmacal begins promotion of Elestrin

BY Ryan Chavis

SAN ANTONIO — Mission Pharmacal on Thursday announced that it has begun the promotion of Elestrin (estradiol gel) 0.06% in the United States through an agreement with Meda AB. The drug is a used as a topical hormone replacement gel to help treat hot flashes caused by menopause.

The addition of Elestrin both complements and expands Mission Pharmacal’s existing line of products for women, which includes such products as prescription prenatal vitamins, a bone health product, anti-infectives, an iron supplement and a urinary analgesic.

"Mission Pharmacal’s commitment to women’s health has never been stronger," said Dan Kibbe, SVP pharmaceutical division at Mission Pharmacal. "The addition of Elestrin further enhances our position as one of the most valuable partners in providing healthcare solutions for obstetricians and gynecologists (OB/GYNs) and their patients in the women’s healthcare community."

Elestrin has been available by prescription in the United States since 2006.

 

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CVS Caremark’s ‘Specialty Connect’ speaks to opportunities within fast-growing specialty market

BY Antoinette Alexander

CVS Caremark has officially taken the wraps off of its new Specialty Connect prescription services program and announced that the program is now available at all CVS/pharmacy locations. The importance of this new program is two-fold.

First of all, it serves as yet one more example of how the company is leveraging its unique assets to improve outcomes. By leveraging its network of 7,600 pharmacy locations and its specialty pharmacy resources, CVS Caremark is able to offer specialty patients greater flexibility and choice. This, in turn, equates to improved medication adherence.

Secondly, the program speaks to the opportunities that exist within the rapidly growing specialty market. The number of specialty products has nearly doubled in the last 10 years. It has been estimated that the market will grow to $235 billion in 2018, a 17% compound annual growth rate. At that point, the specialty pharmacy business will represent about 50% of the total drug spend. Meanwhile, drug prices have accelerated.

For CVS Caremark, specialty has become the No. 1 area of focus in pharmacy for its payer customers.

“With specialty expenditures growing some 15% to 20% annually, our payers are increasingly focused on controlling the specialty trend. And with about 50% of the specialty spend expected to flow through the medical benefit by 2018, our payers are increasingly looking to their PBM to help manage this portion of spend as well, which they could all agree, historically has been largely unmanaged,” CVS Caremark president and CEO Larry Merlo told analysts during the company’s Analyst Day in December.

Merlo added that CVS Caremark has more than 20% share of the specialty market, with more than $20 million in specialty revenues, either filled or managed across its enterprise.

But it should be noted that CVS Caremark isn’t the only pharmacy retailer placing a greater emphasis on specialty.

On Thursday, Fred’s Super Dollar CEO Bruce Efird said that during the first quarter, its “EIRIS Health Services, Fred’s specialty pharmacy division, added several new team members and experienced solid script and sales growth, as we continue to accelerate our penetration of this fast-expanding segment of the pharmacy industry.”

Also during the week, the American Associated Pharmacies, a member-owned national cooperative of independent pharmacies, announced that it is launching a specialty pharmacy program through a partnership with Diplomat. Through the partnership, Diplomat’s Retail Specialty Network will provide AAP members with back-end clinical services and care management.

 

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