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Meijer milestone: 30 million free prescriptions dispensed

BY Michael Johnsen

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. – Meijer pharmacies marked a major milestone late last month when the retailer’s free prescription program hit 30 million prescriptions dispensed – 6 million alone in 2015 – since October 2006 when the program launched. 
 
The program has saved customers more than $422 million, noted Nat Love, VP pharmacy for the Grand Rapids, Mich.-based retailer.
 
“Meijer is a family-owned company committed to meeting the needs of other families,” Love said. “We do this by providing positive solutions to everyday problems, which includes access to necessary medications. We began our free prescription program with that in mind, and are pleased that so many families across the Midwest continue to find it valuable.”
 
The program began by covering leading oral generic antibiotics, with a special focus on the prescription most often filled for children. The program expanded over the years by offering free prenatal vitamins in May 2008; metformin, the most commonly-prescribed drug for type 2 diabetes, in 2010; and atorvastatin calcium, the generic substitute for Lipitor, the cholesterol-lowering medication, in 2012, Love said.
 
The most popular free prescription filled at Meijer in 2015 was atorvastatin calcium with 3 million this year, saving customers $37.7 million. 
 
Other prescription savings included:
 
  • Metformin with 1.4 million prescriptions and a $10.6 million cost-savings to customers;
  • Antibiotics with 1.3 million prescriptions and a $10 million cost-savings; and
  • Prenatal vitamins with 540,000 prescriptions and an $11 million cost-savings.
 
 
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Former chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff to address NACDS Annual attendees

BY Michael Johnsen

ARLINGTON, Va. – Gen. Martin Dempsey, U.S. Army, retired, who in September 2015 concluded his 41 years of military service and his tenure as chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, will speak at the April 19 Business Program during the 2016 NACDS Annual Meeting, the association announced Wednesday.
 
News of Gen. Dempsey’s engagement in the NACDS Annual Meeting follows December’s announcement that former Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives John Boehner, R-Ohio, will speak at the April 17 Business Program during the event.
 
“NACDS members are going to hear from the very leader and patriot whom the President and Secretary of Defense heard from, as recently as a few months ago, on the most pressing national security topics,” stated NACDS president and CEO Steven Anderson. “With former Joint Chiefs Chairman Martin Dempsey and former House Speaker John Boehner on the program, the NACDS Annual Meeting will present the best-qualified and most-timely speakers on issues continuing to unfold in the national and international arenas.”
 
Gen. Dempsey assumed the chairmanship of the Joint Chiefs of Staff from his prior position as chief of staff of the United States Army, which he held from April to September 2011. 
 
During his Army service, he commanded a Cavalry Troop, a Tank Battalion, a Cavalry Regiment, a Tank Division, and United States Central Command, where he was responsible for securing U.S. interests in the Middle East and South Asia. He served in both Operation Desert Storm and Operation Iraqi Freedom, accumulating 42 months in combat.
 
Gen. Dempsey is a 1974 graduate of the United States Military Academy. He earned Master of Arts degrees from three institutions: from Duke in Literature, from the Army Command & General Staff College in Military Science, and from the National War College in National Security Strategy.
 
His military awards include the Bronze Star with the “V” Device that honors valor in combat; the Defense Distinguished Service Medal; and Distinguished Service Medals from the Army, Navy, Air Force and Coast Guard; as well as awards from other Departments in the United States Government including the Office of the Director of National Intelligence, the Central Intelligence Agency and the National Security Agency. 
 
He has received awards from many U.S. allies including France, Germany, Italy, Poland, Croatia, Israel, Japan, the Republic of Korea and Singapore.
 
In 2015, Gen. Dempsey was named one of the “100 most influential leaders in the world” by TIME magazine.
 
Gen. Dempsey and his wife, Deanie, have been married for 39 years. They served the military as a team, and Deanie was instrumental in supporting military families and championing many of the family programs that have been critical to U.S. success over the past 14 years of conflict. 
 
They have three children and nine grandchildren. Each of their three children served in the Army, and their son, Chris, continues to serve as a Major recently assigned to the Pentagon.
 
Gen. Dempsey’s post-military career includes a teaching position at Duke University in public policy and leadership and a role as the special advisor to the commissioner of the National Basketball Association for leader development and youth programs.
 
 
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iFit, EarlySense partner on sleep sensor mattress covers to track health

BY Michael Johnsen

WALTHAM, Mass. – EarlySense and fitness technology company iFit announced Wednesday that EarlySense technology, first designed for hospitals, will be integrated with the latest iFit fitness tracking platform to track sleep.
 
The expanded iFit solution now offers advanced capabilities for users to track health and wellness progress including exercise, sleep and nutrition with iFit wearables, apps and internet-connected health and fitness products.
 
"iFit embraces a 360 degree view on personal fitness and wellness to provide a comprehensive picture of overall health," stated Mark Watterson, director of iFit. "Our solution allows users to easily track personal wellness and activities around the clock. With the addition of EarlySense's technology, users will have the added benefit of monitoring sleep quality and vital signs that provide a clear indication of health progress."
 
EarlySense will provide an IoT-connected sleep sensor that will be integrated with iFit mattresses and mattress covers. By monitoring sleep quality and vital signs such as heart rate and respiratory rate, users can track themselves at night and receive personalized tips to improve sleep and overall wellness.
 
"We are excited about our integration with the iFit technology platform, as iFit shares our vision on how the IoT can be harnessed to enhance people's health. Our technology, which has been proven in the hospital environment, answers the market need for accurate home-wellness tracking and empowers and motivates users," explained Liat Tsoref, VP and general manager of the Digital Health Business Unit at EarlySense. "Improving sleep performance is the cornerstone of improving overall health, and improved fitness supports better sleep. Quality sleep at night translates to being more actively engaged during our day-to-day lives, and to experiencing a new level of control and insight into our overall wellbeing."
 
 
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