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P&G slims down Tide, Gain with compacted powder laundry detergents

BY Allison Cerra

CINCINNATI — Procter & Gamble is letting Target customers know that great things come in small packages as it launches new Tide and Gain compacted powder laundry detergents.

The compacted Tide and Gain detergents, which offer the same number of loads in a smaller box, could save up to 22 million lbs. of total packaging in the United States and Canada each year, P&G said. The company said that in addition to the Tide and Gain launch at Target, P&G also will introduce compacted formulas for Cheer, Dreft and Ivory Snow.

The new compacted detergents join other products in the P&G Future Friendly portfolio, including Tide ColdWater, PUR and Cascade ActionPacs, which have been designed to reduce waste, save energy or save water without a trade-off in value or performance.

"As Future Friendly products, concentrated powder detergents show how simple choices can lead to meaningful results," said Maurice Coffey, marketing director for P&G Future Friendly. "By taking this small step with our consumer, we can create benefits for the environment and ultimately improve consumers’ lives."

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Boiron notes illness levels continue to rise

BY Michael Johnsen

NEWTOWN SQUARE, Pa. — Nearly 39 million people, or 12.5% of the U.S. population, are feeling the effects of cold and flu as high illness levels continued across the nation, Boiron stated Friday, citing SDI Health data.

Some of the most prevalent indications are fever and influenza-like symptoms, such as chills, body aches and headache.

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HSAs address rising healthcare costs

BY Michael Johnsen

WHAT IT MEANS AND WHY IT’S IMPORTANT — Give a man a doctor’s co-pay, and he is healthy for a day. Give him a health savings account, and that man becomes so much more vested in ensuring positive health outcomes that he may be healthy for a lifetime. Because in the long run, it’s cheaper.

(THE NEWS: HSAs saw dramatic growth in 2010, study finds. For the full story, click here)

The increased adoption and utilization of health savings accounts by consumers speaks to the important role a consumer with a leg in the race will play in helping to manage escalating healthcare costs. It creates an infrastructure whereby HSA holders, or flexible spending accounts holders for that matter, become educated healthcare consumers and correspondingly spend their dollars more wisely.

That’s why placing any kind of disincentive into this kind of consumer-directed health plan, such as requiring a prescription for reimbursement on nonprescription items under HSA or FSA plans, does not make intuitive sense. An analysis conducted by the Foundation for Healthsmart Consumers found that between doctor visits and retail pharmacies, healthcare costs associated a prescription requirement on the purchase of over-the-counter medicines could reach as high as $4.5 billion in one year if even 10% of the population begins making additional appointments with their practitioners. So rather than drive down costs of health care, that significantly increases healthcare costs.

According to America’s Health Insurance Plans, the average premiums for HSA-eligible plans are approximately 15% to 20% lower than average premiums in the overall employer market. Consumers with HSA-eligible coverage appear to be more aware of healthcare costs than consumers with non-consumer-driven health plan coverage — 63% of HSA-eligible enrollees tracked their healthcare expenses, compared with 43% of non-CDHP enrollees; 38% of HSA-eligible enrollees estimated their future health expenses, compared with 19% of non-CDHP enrollees; and 47% of HSA-eligible enrollees were saving for future health expenses, compared with 18% of non-CDHP enrollees.

And recently, Congress introduced a bill to restore FSA eligibility for OTC purchases. Do you think it should become a law? Sound off by voting in our latest online poll.

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