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Survey: One-third of adults still believe vaccines may be linked to autism in children

BY Michael Johnsen

WASHINGTON — According to new survey data recently released by the National Consumers League, one-third of adult Americans still believe that vaccines may be linked to autism in children. According to the survey, 33% of parents of children under the age of 18 and 29% of all adults continue to believe “vaccinations can cause autism.” Scientific studies have clarified that use of vaccines is not linked to autism in children, the NCL noted. 

According to public health experts, the failure to vaccinate children has recently led to outbreaks of highly contagious, preventable and sometimes-deadly diseases, like whooping cough.

NCL’s survey of 1,756 U.S. adults, conducted online by Harris Poll in August and September, also found that 50% of parents are aware of the study that linked autism to childhood vaccinations, but only half of these parents are aware that the study has since been discredited and retracted.

While most Americans understand the benefits of vaccination, many still see it as an issue of individual choice. More than 4-in-5 (82%) adults agree that vaccinations help reduce health care costs, and 72% are concerned about the drop in vaccination rates in the United States. However, 60% say they respect the decision of parents when choosing whether or not to vaccinate their children.

Only two-in-five (39%) of parents surveyed describe themselves as being extremely or very knowledgeable about how vaccines work. But, among those, 35% also believe that vaccinations can cause autism.

A majority of adults (87%) and parents (81%) support mandatory vaccinations for school-aged children. As many as 76% of parents say that they think parents or guardians should have the final say about whether or not children should be vaccinated (vs. 64% of all adults).

 

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Target partners with 17 brands to launch ‘Made to Matter’ collection

BY Antoinette Alexander

MINNEAPOLIS —Target has announced the debut of “Made to Matter – Handpicked by Target” — a first-of-its-kind collection that brings together 17 natural, organic and sustainable brands.

“Our guests are looking for products they can feel good bringing home without sacrificing price and performance,” stated Kathee Tesija, EVP, merchandising and supply chain, Target. “We’re taking the guesswork out of buying better-for-you products by bringing together 17 trusted brands.”

First introduced in Target stores at the end of March, new Made to Matter products will be added throughout spring and summer, with the complete collection available by September.

Spanning Target’s baby, beauty and personal care, grocery, healthcare and household product categories, Made to Matter brands include Annie’s Homegrown, Burt’s Bees, Chobani, Clif Bar & Co., Ella’s Kitchen, EVOL, Horizon Organic, Hyland’s, Kashi, Method, Plum Organics, Seventh Generation, SheaMoisture, Target’s Simply Balanced, Vita Coco, Yes To and Zarbee’s Naturals. The Made to Matter collection includes all products currently offered at Target by the participating brands and at least one new exclusive item from each brand.

There will be more than 120 new and limited-time exclusive Made to Matter products. They range from first-to-market product designs and innovations to new scent and flavor options. Products will be available throughout the store, both in the products’ usual aisles and as part of specialized collection displays. Select products also will be available on Target.com and Target’s mobile app.

 

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Study commissioned by CVS Caremark examines reducing specialty drug spend

BY Antoinette Alexander

WOONSOCKET, R.I. — As the cost for specialty medications continues to rise, implementing an effective "channel transition" approach — the process of moving prescriptions from the medical benefit to the pharmacy benefit — can produce significant savings for healthcare payers by improving management of these complex and costly drugs, according to a new report commissioned by CVS Caremark.

"With the continued rise in utilization and spend related to specialty medications, health care payers have a tremendous opportunity to reduce costs and improve care through a variety of approaches," stated Alan Lotvin, EVP specialty pharmacy for CVS Caremark. "Transitioning specialty medications from the medical benefit to the pharmacy benefit, as well as offering patients more convenient options by addressing where infusion care is administered, can produce significant savings. We are focused on finding ways to better manage the rising costs related to these complex and expensive drugs, while ensuring patients continue to receive high-quality care."

The new Milliman report finds the transition from the medical to the pharmacy benefit can save payers an average of 19% across 14 classes of self- or provider-administered injectable specialty drugs for the treatment of conditions such as multiple sclerosis and autoimmune disorders. By moving coverage to the pharmacy benefit, payers are able to implement more effective management tools such as formulary design, utilization management, and preferred or exclusive networks. According to the report, more than half (53%) of specialty medication spending currently occurs under the medical benefit.

Compared with the average patient, specialty patients are more likely to have multiple diagnoses, see more specialists, fill more prescriptions and have more lab tests, ER visits and hospitalizations, resulting in overall health care costs as much as 8.5 times higher than non-specialty patients.

It is estimated that specialty pharmacy spend is expected to rise from $92 billion in 2012 to $235 billion by 2018.

"CVS Caremark provides an end-to-end pharmacy management and delivery solution for specialty pharmacy patients that helps them better manage their medications and their disease throughout their journey," stated Jon Roberts, president, CVS Caremark PBM business. "Our suite of programs focuses on managing cost, quality and access for specialty conditions through a range of unique specialty pharmacy services."

According to CVS Caremark, its suite of specialty pharmacy services includes:

  • Industry-leading experience and proven outcomes related to managing across the medical and pharmacy benefit;
  • Team of specialized pharmacists, nurses and dieticians who manage the whole patient and support them throughout the progression of their disease to help control overall health care costs; and
  • Unmatched, convenient access to specialty drugs, patient counseling and the appropriate site of care, combined with consistent clinical quality, improves the patient experience and adherence to their plan of care.

The study was based on 2012 claims data for a commercially insured population as reported in Milliman’s Consolidated Health Cost Guidelines database. The study included plans with a variety of commercial plan designs (e.g., PPO, HMO and POS).

Click here to access the full Milliman report.

 

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