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As social media buzzes, CVS Health sees win-win with stop of tobacco sales, name change

BY Antoinette Alexander

WOONSOCKET, R.I. — Social media outlets. Consumers. Wall Street. Government officials. Everyone was buzzing over CVS Caremark’s news on Wednesday that it has changed its corporate name to CVS Health and stopped selling tobacco in all of its stores — one month earlier than anticipated.

The move to change its corporate name to CVS Health makes sense as it more clearly reflects the company’s mission to help its consumers live healthier lives. As president and CEO Larry Merlo said during his Wednesday morning interview on CNBC, the name change is really “catching up with some of the things that we’ve been doing for the last couple of years.”

What Merlo is referring to is, in part, the company’s major focus on improving medication adherence — a significant public health problem, resulting in about $300 billion a year in unnecessary medical treatment.

It is a clinical journey that the company started back in 2007 following the merger with Caremark. Leveraging Caremark insights and clinical expertise, the company built and launched its first retail adherence program in 2008. Over the years, that effort has significantly expanded and the type and number of clinical interventions has grown. In fact, in 2013 alone the company executed nearly 80 million live clinical interventions at retail.

Be assured that the journey is far from over as the company continues to advance its clinical and adherence solutions. In fact, one could say it is just beginning as CVS Health increasingly strengthens its foothold along the frontlines of healthcare.

Going forward, improving health outcomes will only grow in importance as the shift toward an outcomes-based payment model continues to take hold with the U.S. healthcare system.

Of course, tying right into CVS Health’s commitment to health is its decision to stop selling tobacco at its stores. It is a move that has been hailed by many — both inside and outside of the industry — and on top of the news the company has demonstrated the role that social media can play in spreading a message and driving engagement.

With Wednesday’s announcement, the company took to social media with a new social campaign — #OneGoodReason — in which it invited everyone to share their personal stories of how smoking and tobacco use has affected their lives. Catching on like wildfire, many Tweeted their support of the decision, including The First Lady, HHS.gov and the NYSE.

Clearly, the news of the name change and pulling of tobacco products is extremely important, in and of itself, but CVS Health’s use of social media to drive engagement is not to be overlooked.

All around, it’s a win-win for CVS Health.

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LA Times: Calif. Gov. Brown to ‘probably’ sign statewide ban on plastic bags

BY Antoinette Alexander

NEW YORK — California could become the first state to impose a statewide ban on single-use plastic bags.

The Los Angeles Times reported that, during a televised debate Thursday evening, Gov. Jerry Brown said he would “probably” sign a law that would ban plastic grocery bags.

The gubernatorial debate was with Republican rival Neel Kashkari, who said he would not sign the bill if he became governor, the article stated.

Last week, state lawmakers approved legislation banning plastic bags available to shoppers in such retail outlets as convenience stores, pharmacies and supermarkets. Under the bill, stores could charge consumers 10 cents for paper or reusable plastic bags as an alternative, the LA Times reported. Similar bans are already in place in more than 100 cities and counties in California.

Once signed, the ban would become effective July 1, 2015. It would extend to convenience stores and liquor stores a year later, the LA Times reported.

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Mylan launches generic version of Boniva injection

BY Michael Johnsen

PITTSBURGH — Mylan on Friday announced that it has launched ibandronate sodium injection, 1 mg (base)/mL, packaged in 3 mg (base)/3 mL pre-filled glass syringes, which is the generic version of Hoffmann-La Roche's Boniva injection. Mylan received final approval from the Food and Drug Administration for its abbreviated new drug application for this product, which is indicated for the treatment of osteoporosis in postmenopausal women.
 
U.S. sales of the product totaled approximately $18.4 million for the 12 months ending June 30, according to IMS Health.
 
Currently, Mylan has 288 ANDAs pending FDA approval representing $110.3 billion in annual brand sales, according to IMS Health. Forty-two of these pending ANDAs are potential first-to-file opportunities, representing $27.5 billion in annual brand sales, for the 12 months ending June 30, according to IMS Health.
 
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