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Walgreens Take Care tour rolls out with free healthcare screenings

BY Jim Frederick

DEERFIELD, Ill. —Walgreens kicked off an expanded 2008 Take Care Health Tour last month that will hit 300 cities in 12 months, cover more than 240,000 miles and provide more than $35 million in free health screenings and services.

The expanded 2008 program features 10 customized traveling education and health-screening vehicles, compared with the four-vehicle tour in 2007. This is the tour’s fourth year of crossing the country.

Walgreens and its Take Care clinic division will offer patients six free screenings, including total cholesterol levels, blood pressure, bone density, glucose levels, waist circumference and body mass index. The services are worth more than $115 in value, the company asserted. Patients will be served on a walk-in basis.

“This tour will provide better health in communities across the country, particularly in areas most in need of affordable health care,” said Walgreens president Greg Wasson.

Participating sponsors of the Walgreens Take Care Health Tour include Eli Lilly and Company; LifeScan, the maker of the OneTouch glucose monitoring system; Johnson & Johnson; GlaxoSmithKline and Procter & Gamble.

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JPMA refutes media reports about dangers of baby bottle materials

BY Jenna Duncan

MT. LAUREL, N.J. The media has been asked by the Juvenile Products Manufacturers Association to halt stories with claims of purported negative health effects from using baby products containing bisphenol A (BPA). JPMA claims that statements of ill health linked to items containing BPA are often misleading and frighten consumers.

According to JPMA, research has shown that when used properly, products made with BPA do not pose a health threat.

Robert Waller, Jr., the president of JPMA, said, “JPMA is extremely disappointed in the media for speculating that Health Canada’s assessment of BPA would recommend labeling the chemical a dangerous substance, when in fact the report has not even been issued yet.”

Claims in the media have stated that risk may come from the plastic shields on pacifiers, parts of baby bottles or sippy cups being broken down or chewed, and then ingested with food or saliva. Scientific findings indicate that BPA may cause estrogenic effects in laboratory animals, and so concerns about the safety of baby products, especially bottles, has been under scrutiny.

JPMA, whose mission is to educate consumers and industry professionals about juvenile products and safety, is referring consumers to its Web site, www.babybottles.org, for more information on BPA and related health findings.

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American Greetings reports fiscal 2008 profit

BY Doug Desjardins

CLEVELAND American Greetings generated $83.3 million in earnings for fiscal 2008, including $15.6 million in the fourth quarter ended Feb. 29, and more than $1.77 billion in total sales for year. Total sales were down about 1 percent from $1.79 billion the previous year, but earnings were up 96 percent from $42.4 million.

“I’m pleased we were able to achieve earnings within our forecasted range and exceed our cash flow guidance,” said American Greetings chief executive officer Zev Weiss. “Our strong cash flow allowed us to make two acquisitions in the digital photo space and repurchase shares.”

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