NCPA: Members left out of the FSA mix
NEW YORK Beyond small business being lost in the big government shuffle, NCPA’s emphasis on this issue only stresses the importance behind over-the-counter medicines and the class of medicine inclusion as an eligible expense under flexible spending accounts.
Because, really, there can be only one impetus behind this letter — one of many customers walked into their local community pharmacy attempting to use an FSA debit card and had to be turned away.
And with that, there may be a couple between-the-line issues here. For example, FSA utilization has always seemed somewhat anemic — only one-third of employees take advantage according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.
But if enough independent consumers are complaining of not being able to use their card at their pharmacy of choice, that may suggest that FSA utilization is larger than currently anticipated. Or it could mean that OTC use is heavier among employees with FSA accounts, making this niche demographic a highly-prized marketing demographic. Or, it could mean a larger proportion of FSA users patronize independent pharmacies.
Regardless, what it certainly means is that OTCs are an important part of the FSA mix, something Congress leaders ought to take into consideration in debating any healthcare reform legislation that opts to eliminate the OTC tax benefit.
Craig C. Phillips elected VP, general manager of the oncology business unit at Cephalon
FRAZER, Pa. Cephalon announced Craig C. Phillips was elected VP and general manager of the oncology business unit.
Phillips will be responsible for managing all aspects of the U.S. oncology business including sales, marketing and medical affairs.
“Since joining Cephalon two years ago, Craig has clearly demonstrated an ability to exceed expectations and bring value to our organization through his leadership,” said Robert Roche, EVP of worldwide pharmaceutical operations. “I am confident that Craig’s leadership and vision will support the dynamic growth of the Cephalon oncology business and allow us to continue to bring medicines that matter to the healthcare professionals and patients battling cancer.”
Spartan fights economy with jump in net sales
GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. Supermarket operator Spartan Stores had a $9.3 million jump in consolidated net sales during first quarter of its fiscal year 2010, the company announced in an earnings release this week.
That and a 9.4% increase in EBITDA stemmed mostly from Spartan’s acquisition of VG’s Food and Pharmacy stores, the company said. First-quarter operating earnings increased moderately, to $15.1 million compared with first quarter fiscal year 2009.
“We are pleased to report steady operating profits despite the prolonged economic challenges and the incremental costs associated with this year’s business and operational initiatives,” Spartan president and CEO Dennis Eidson said in a statement. “As anticipated, comparable store sales at our retail supermarkets declined during the quarter due to economic uncertainty, which is causing changes in consumer purchase behavior, such as a shift to lower-priced private label products, and price deflation in certain high-volume product categories.”