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Preventative health care gains traction in payor community

BY Michael Johnsen

SAN DIEGO A focus on preventative health care is gaining traction in the payor community, a recent press release issued by Healthyroads, a subsidiary of national health and wellness company American Specialty Health, revealed Thursday.

Healthyroads membership has grown to include 3.3 million eligible members on Jan. 1, from 860,000 members at the end of 2007, the company stated.

“What is most extraordinary about this growth is that during a difficult economy, many employers and health plans have chosen to invest in wellness and prevention to improve employee health and reduce future medical claims trends,” stated George DeVries, chairman and CEO of American Specialty Health. “It demonstrates that wellness and prevention are a key, mainstream part of our health care delivery system.”

And it’s working, the company noted. Of those who lost weight in the weight management program, the average weight loss per member was 16 pounds. Approximately 92% of all Healthyroads Coaching participants reduced their health risk through improvement in their eating habits, activity levels, and stress management. The six-month abstinence rate of members engaged in the Healthyroads Tobacco Cessation program is 38%. And members who quit tobacco gained less than 1 pound in the year following their quit date. 

Healthyroads is a wellness and prevention company that provides lifestyle health coaching, online wellness tools, health risk assessments, healthy incentive programs, wireless technology solutions and worksite wellness programs to assist members with weight  management, stress management, improving nutrition, increasing activity, healthy living and tobacco cessation.

Health plans, disease management companies and employer groups contract with Healthyroads to provide wellness and prevention services to their eligible members.

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Actavis goes up for sale, peaks interest of major Rx companies

BY Alaric DeArment

NEW YORK Icelandic generic drug maker Actavis is for sale and could go for up to $10.8 billion at a time when many generic drug companies find themselves targets of acquisitions.

The fifth largest maker of generic drugs in the world, Actavis became a private company in 2007 after action by majority stakeholder Novator, led by Icelandic billionaire Thor Bjorgolfsson.

According to Reuters, a number of large drug makers could end up buying the company, including Pfizer, Sanofi-Aventis, GlaxoSmithKline and Novartis.

In other news, the Food and Drug Administration announced Friday that it had filed a consent decree and was awaiting the United States District Court for the District of New Jersey’s entry of a permanent injunction forbidding Actavis’ U.S. subsidiary, Actavis Totowa, from manufacturing drugs in its New Jersey factories until the FDA decides the factories are in compliance with current good-manufacturing practice requirements.

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Winn-Dixie opens prototype store with expanded grocery departments, pharmacy

BY Michael Johnsen

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. Winn-Dixie Stores on Wednesday opened a prototype store in its existing SaveRite location here featuring everyday low pricing on thousands of items a la Walmart, as well as monthly locked-in specials and special price-drop items in a warehouse format.

“In designing this concept, we spent a great deal of time reviewing our customers’ shopping preferences,” said Dan Portnoy, Winn-Dixie chief merchandising and marketing officer. “We wanted to make sure that the new store would be a true fit for the neighborhoods it serves. … We focused only on those items and services that were most important to our customers, and, as a result, we were able to aggressively cut costs and lower prices throughout the store.”

In addition to enhanced produce and meat departments, the 48,000-square-foot store also has an in-store pharmacy where customers will find 30-day supplies of more than 400 generic drugs for only $3.98 every day. Other features include newly designed warehouse-style shopping carts and popular staple items available for purchase by the case.

SaveRite closed the store Jan. 6, allowing time for associates to work through the afternoon and evening to lower thousands of prices. The company welcomed area leaders and residents to a preview on Tuesday evening where SaveRite donated $5,000 to Paxon Improvement Association. To celebrate the store’s new format, SaveRite will also host a Family Fun Event on Jan. 10.

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