HEALTH

NACDS chief, state pharmacy leader appeal to consumers on Medicaid cuts

BY Jim Frederick

SEATTLE In a direct appeal to pharmacy consumers in the state of Washington, industry and professional leaders have co-authored a high-profile article in The Seattle Times, condemning the state’s plan to cut Medicaid pharmacy reimbursements and asking consumers for their support in overturning the plan.

The guest column came from Steve Anderson, president and CEO of the National Association of Chain Drug Stores, and Jeff Rochon, CEO of the Washington State Pharmacy Association. It was published Monday under the headline “Medicaid pharmacy cuts will hurt all patients.”

Anderson and Rochon, along with Walgreens, have waged a legal and public information campaign to halt the proposed cuts, which they argue would make Washington state’s reimbursement the lowest in the nation. In their opinion column Monday, the two pharmacy leaders condemned the proposed cuts and appealed to consumers to contact state legislators to express opposition to the plan.

“The consequences of this decision are deeply troubling,” wrote Anderson and Rochon. “This new cut would mean every time a doctor prescribes a brand-name medication to Medicaid patients — even when a less-expensive generic alternative is available — pharmacies would lose money. It is absurd to penalize pharmacies for providing our patients with the medication that was prescribed by their doctor.”

Anderson and Rochon point out that the cuts would make filling prescriptions for Medicaid patients unprofitable, “potentially putting hundreds of jobs at risk and wreaking economic damage to large and smaller pharmacies across the state.

“More importantly, these cuts could harm the very people that the state has an obligation to serve,” they noted.

“We in the pharmacy industry recognize the state’s budgetary constraints and we went to the legislature and the governor with a slate of alternative solutions that address the state’s budget crisis,” add the two pharmacy advocates. “We proposed ideas such as implementing electronic prescribing programs for physicians to make patient care more efficient, and quickly converting Medicaid patients to new generic versions of brand-name medications as they become available in the near future. All told, these and other programs could save the state $90 million, far more than it gains by reducing the reimbursement on Medicaid drugs.”

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Carex rolls out new Bed Buddy Foot and Hand Warmers Gift Set

BY Allison Cerra

SIOUX FALLS, S.D. Carex Health Brands introduced a new Bed Buddy Foot and Hand Warmers Gift Set with merchandising display, which offers consumers an economical way to stay warm during the fall/winter season and keep their heating bills down.

Featuring a Moist Heat ThermaTherapy, the Bed Buddy Foot and Hand Warmers provide soothing warmth in minutes, stay heated for up to an hour, are one-size-fits-all and are easy and safe to use.

Filled with 100% natural and organic grains, the Foot and Hand Warmers also provide relief from aches and pains, and are lightly fragranced with aromatherapy — including eucalyptus to revitalize, clove to comfort and cinnamon to calm.

Carex will donate a portion of proceeds from the sales of pink Bed Buddy Foot & Hand Warmers Gift Sets to the fight against breast cancer.

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Viactiv partners with Susan G. Komen for the Cure, continuing its ‘Style and Strength for Life’ Campaign

BY Allison Cerra

NEW YORK A calcium supplement brand has become a sponsor of Susan G. Komen for the Cure, the world’s largest breast cancer organization.

Viactiv Calcium Soft Chews, which contain 125% of the daily value of vitamin D, pledged a sponsorship of $100,000 between August 2008 and July 2009. The brand’s sponsorship is part of the year-long “Style and Strength for Life” campaign, which is built on an innovative platform uniting the Viactiv brand with breakout fashion designer Ashleigh Verrier and her mother and business partner Jude Verrier. The initiative was established to educate women about the connection between adequate calcium, essential vitamins (particularly vitamin D) and healthy beauty.

As part of its “Style and Strength for Life” campaign, and serving as the cornerstone of its Susan G. Komen for the Cure partnership, the Viactiv will also appear as one of the “silver-level” sponsors of the Komen Philadelphia Race for the Cure this May. The race will take place on May 10 at 8:15 a.m. at Eakins Oval at the Philadelphia Art Museum. The brand, along with Ashleigh and Jude Verrier, will inspire walkers to pledge their “daily promise to be strong.” Each promise, written on a special hangtag, will come together to create a powerful display of strength.

Additionally, limited-edition “My Daily Promise” bracelets, designed by Ashleigh Verrier, will be awarded to participants and spectators via a random drawing during the race. Consumers will also have the opportunity to enter an online contest in May at www.viactiv.com for their chance to win a limited-edition bracelet. The “My Daily Promise” bracelet, a ring of silver beads and one standout bead encrusted with brilliant purple Swarovski crystals accompanied by a chic “V” charm, was developed earlier this year — and gifted to various celebrities during Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week — to bring the message of healthy beauty to life. The “My Daily Promise” bracelet serves as a stylish reminder to take Viactiv Calcium supplements each day as a commitment to healthy beauty and wellness.

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