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Kaiser Health News: Legislation to be introduced to create new FDA office overseeing mobile health apps

BY Michael Johnsen

MENLO PARK, Calif. — Rep. Mike Honda, D-Calif., of the Silicon Valley is preparing to introduce legislation that will create a new division within the Food and Drug Administration to govern fast-developing healthcare applications, according to a report published by Kaiser Health News last week. 

It’s big business — according to projections made by Research2guidance, the healthcare mobile app market, dubbed mHealth, could total $1.3 billion by year’s end, up from $718 million in 2011. 

Honda’s legislation, called the Healthcare Innovation and Marketplace Technologies Act, would establish a special Office of Mobile Health at the FDA to provide recommendations on mobile health app issues. The legislation would also seek the writing of a mobile health developer support program at the Department of Health and Human Services that could help app developers from violating HIPAA or other privacy regulations. 

"Currently, our healthcare system works against small-to-large startup entrepreneurs with a multitude of barriers to entry," noted Honda in a statement published by Kaiser Health News. “Why have the principles of Silicon Valley, which I represent — competition, innovation and entrepreneurship — not fully manifested themselves in the healthcare information technology space? This bill gets us closer to that space.”

For the full Kaiser Health News article, click here


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Reckitt Benckiser taps Pfizer Consumer vet to lead U.S. consumer marketing

BY Michael Johnsen

PARSIPPANY, N.J. — Reckitt Benckiser recently named Tiffany McLaud to the position of consumer healthcare marketing director. McLaud joins RB from Pfizer Consumer Healthcare where she held a number of senior positions, most recently as senior director of U.S. dietary supplements.

As RB’s healthcare marketing director, McLaud will oversee the company’s healthcare portfolio, including Mucinex, Delsym and Cepacol.

McLaud joined Pfizer in 1998 after the completion of her master’s degree in corporate and organizational communications. She had worked her way through the ranks including tenures as director of marketing, Centrum Ultra; director of U.S. marketing new products — analgesics and respiratory; and group product director of Chapstick.


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CVS Caremark’s SilverScript unveils new Medicare PDP options for 2013

BY Antoinette Alexander

WOONSOCKET, R.I. — SilverScript Insurance, a CVS Caremark company, announced on Monday that a variety of new Medicare prescription drug plan options are available for 2013.

Enrollment for the 2013 plan year begins on Oct. 15 and runs through Dec. 7. Medicare beneficiaries can choose from three SilverScript plans whether they are looking for affordable yet comprehensive coverage, are concerned about coverage in the "donut hole" or don’t currently take a lot of prescription drugs yet still want good basic coverage in case their circumstances change during the plan year:

  • SilverScript Choice — a $0-deductible plan with a low monthly premium that is below $30 in most states. The plan also features $0 co-pays for all tier-1 drugs, including most generic drugs, at any preferred pharmacy in the network or through the CVS Caremark mail-service pharmacy during the initial coverage stage. The preferred pharmacy network offers a wide selection of pharmacies across the country including many independent, community-based pharmacies, major retail pharmacy chains and CVS/pharmacy stores;

  • SilverScript Basic — a low monthly premium plan with a deductible designed for people who take few or no prescriptions, but still want comprehensive coverage should their prescription needs change; and

  • SilverScript Plus — a $0-deductible plan with a higher monthly premium that provides coverage during the Coverage Gap ("donut hole"). This plan is designed for people who take several medications on a regular basis and are likely to reach the Coverage Gap during the 2013 plan year.

"As part of our commitment to helping people on their path to better health, we asked Medicare beneficiaries what they wanted in a prescription drug plan related to cost and coverage including the ideal monthly premium, deductible and co-pay," said Adam Miller, EVP of Medicare Part D services for CVS Caremark. "Based on what we heard from consumers, we developed the SilverScript Choice PDP, which is among the lowest-cost plans in many regions when considering both premium and deductible. It is important for beneficiaries to remember that when they are selecting a plan, they should pay attention to the total cost. They should consider the monthly premium, whether there is a deductible or not and co-pay amounts."


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