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Prestige Brands closes deal on Insight Pharmaceuticals

BY Michael Johnsen

TARRYTOWN, N.Y. — Prestige Brands on Wednesday announced that it has closed the previously announced acquisition of Insight Pharmaceuticals, a marketer and distributor of feminine care and other over-the-counter healthcare products.
 
The closing followed the Federal Trade Commission’s approval of the acquisition and was finalized pursuant to the terms of the purchase agreement announced on April 25, 2014. 
 
The acquisition will extend Prestige’s portfolio of OTC brands to include a leading feminine care platform in the United States and Canada anchored by Monistat, an OTC yeast infection treatment. The acquisition will also add brands to Prestige’s cough-cold, pain relief, ear care and dermatological platforms. 
 
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Target to open TargetExpress stores in San Francisco, Berkeley

BY Antoinette Alexander

MINNEAPOLIS — Target has announced plans to open, in March 2015, two new TargetExpress stores in San Francisco’s Financial District and Berkeley, Calif.

Target’s first TargetExpress store opened this year in Minneapolis, and the San Francisco-area stores will mark the first time Target is expanding this format outside the Minneapolis area.

The San Francisco store will be approximately 18,000 sq. ft. and located next to the Montgomery BART station, in the heart of the financial district. The Berkeley store will be approximately 12,000 sq. ft. and located next to the Downtown Berkeley BART station, near the main entrance to the University of California, Berkeley.

“From listening to our guests at the two San Francisco CityTarget stores, we know the smaller format of TargetExpress will fit right into the busy San Francisco Bay Area lifestyle and enable us to cater to each community’s needs,” said Kamau Witherspoon, senior director store operations, Target.

Both TargetExpress locations will be customized to fit the individual needs of the surrounding neighborhoods. For example, the Bush Street store will feature a large grab-and-go area with sandwiches, salads, breakfast items like yogurt and midday snacks for busy commuters on the go. The store also will include a Starbucks and select items from Target's Made to Matter collection, which features products from such San Francisco Bay Area companies as Annies, Yes To and Method.

The Berkeley store will offer a large selection of grocery items — including produce, dairy, frozen, snacks and beverages — to serve the students, commuters and residents of Berkeley. Additionally, both new TargetExpress stores will be stocked with essentials in home, beauty and electronics, including a robust assortment of Target’s owned brands. The stores will also include Target’s pick-up-in-store service and a pharmacy.

Target opened the first TargetExpress in Minneapolis in July, and has announced plans to open one in the Highland Park area of St. Paul, Minn., in 2015. A third San Francisco Bay Area TargetExpress will also open in 2015, with a location to be announced in the coming months, the company stated.
 

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In letter to CMS, NACDS recommends actions to aid exchange enrollees in 2015

BY Antoinette Alexander

ARLINGTON, Va. — The National Association of Chain Drug Stores announced on Wednesday that it has written to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services to “recommend administrative changes to facilitate a smooth start for new exchange enrollees seeking prescription drug coverage in the 2015 plan year.”


“We recommend that exchange call centers remain open on all federal and state holidays during the December/January period, that exchange plan beneficiary eligibility files are updated on a nightly basis, and that functionality is implemented to allow pharmacists to use one-time overrides in the month of January where they have difficulty adjudicating claims for new exchange enrollees,” NACDS wrote to CMS administrator Marilyn Tavenner.


According to NACDS, it detailed the technical rationale for each of its recommendations, with a focus on optimizing the experience of patients during this next transition phase for millions of Americans:

▪    “First, as to the call centers, there were concerns in 2014 that some of the state run call centers might not have been open on holidays, such as Christmas Day and New Year’s Day. To meet beneficiary needs, we believe that all call centers should be open throughout the holiday season, especially New Year’s Day. The first few days of coverage during a new plan year are the days in which confusion and transitional problems are most likely to occur. Accordingly, to help beneficiaries have a more positive experience, state run call centers should be accessible to patients and pharmacists on state and federal holidays for beneficiaries that are experiencing difficulty using their
prescription benefits for the first time in January 2015.”

▪    “Second, as in 2014, we remain concerned that patients may visit their pharmacy in January, shortly after enrolling in a plan, only to find that their coverage is not yet active. Such scenarios are most likely to occur as a result of the failure of plans to provide nightly updates to the patient eligibility files. To provide for a smooth transition from coverage to care at the start of the 2015 plan year, we request that CMS require plans to provide nightly updates to patient eligibility files.”

▪    “Finally, at the start of a plan year, there often can be confusion concerning coverage for specific medications for new plan enrollees. Difficulties in adjudicating such drug claims can lead to continuity of care problems as patients are delayed or denied access to the medications they need. To promote continuity of care and avoid potential costly repercussions from patients not having access to the medications they need, we request that CMS allow pharmacies one-time overrides of prescription drug claim denials during the month of January 2015. CMS should further make clear that the plans have the responsibility for paying for the overridden claim once the claim is approved. This will provide patients with access to the drugs that they need while they work through coverage issues with their insurer, or work with their prescriber to find a substitute covered medication.

NACDS’ recommendations reflect its engagement in late 2013, when the Association advised the agency of steps necessary to improve the January 1 roll-out of exchange-based insurance coverage as a result of the Affordable Care Act.

In 2013, NACDS conducted outreach with members to help identify and solve potential difficulties related to the exchange roll-out, and to maintain open communication throughout its implementation. NACDS also participated in regular White House meetings and conference calls as the calendar turned from 2013 to 2014, and was invited to a White House event in May 2014 with President Obama and the First Lady to thank those who worked to smooth the experience of patients during the transition.

NACDS has likened pharmacy’s ACA implementation to pharmacy’s education efforts during the 2006 rollout of Medicare Part D, the response to H1N1, a consistent and concerted national flu vaccination campaign, and the providing of necessary goods and services during national crisis situations.
 
 

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