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Amazon launches men’s grooming platform

BY Antoinette Alexander

SEATTLE — Amazon.com is looking to further tap into the men’s grooming market with the launch of its new men’s grooming platform.

The men’s grooming area features such products as skin care, body care, shave, hair care, oral care, and kits and gifts sets. The site also features a series of “how-to guides” on such topics as “Get the Perfect Shave,” “Get Kissable Skin” and “Get Trendy Hair.”

The site also has a section for “problem solvers,” such as Philips Norelco 1280X SensoTouch to cool razor burn and Dove Men+Care Cool Silver Antiperspirant to beat body odor.

According to reports, Chance Wales, director, category leader — U.S. Health & Beauty, was quoted as saying, “We’ve put together regimens based on expert advice so that a man who doesn’t really know what to do in terms of taking care of his skin will be able to gain that information.”
 

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Don’t let CMS freeze community pharmacy out of delivery of diabetic testing supplies

BY Jim Frederick

Why does the federal government want to block independent pharmacies from providing much-needed diabetes testing supplies to older homebound patients?

In a clear case of over zealous federal policy-making and glacial government response time, the U.S. Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services said it will do just that beginning in July. That’s when CMS has decreed it will no longer allow small community pharmacies to deliver diabetic test kits to homebound and long-term care patients on Medicare.

Presumably, the new restrictions were initially prompted by concerns at CMS that suppliers were overcharging Medicare by shifting the delivery of diabetic-testing supplies away from mail-order in favor of community pharmacy-based providers, which were formerly reimbursed by Medicare at a higher rate. But that’s no longer the case; both mail and pharmacy delivery now are on the same payment rate, despite the fact that community pharmacists still provide the added — and more expensive to deliver — value of face-to-face counseling to diabetic patients.

As DSN associate editor Alaric DeArment reported last week, CMS’ move to cut community pharmacies out of the business of diabetes-supply delivery will be a hardship, both to pharmacies and to patients. And more than 40 members of Congress agree: They co-signed a letter May 21, to CMS administrator Marilyn Tavenner urging her to reconsider the policy, and warning that it would “cause disruption in the care provided to Medicare patients.

“While we understand and appreciate the intent of the final rule is to prevent suppliers from adopting ways to circumvent the mail-order process, the recently enacted American Taxpayer Relief Act [ATRA] removes any incentives for suppliers to get around these rules,” the lawmakers told Tavenner. “As a result of ATRA, the payment rates to retail pharmacies were reduced and will now equal those paid to mail-order.”

With “the same level of reimbursements” for both sources of testing supplies, said the congressional reps, “there is no further reason to prohibit home delivery by retail pharmacies.” The lawmakers also pointed out that more than nine of every 10 community pharmacies “make some form of home delivery of diabetes-testing supplies in a month,” and provide “crucial face-to-face counseling and adherence services…to Medicare patients.”

There’s still time for individual pharmacists and pharmacy leaders to join this battle by letting CMS know where you stand.

 

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NRF opposes settlement in swipe-fee case

BY Alaric DeArment

WASHINGTON — A trade group representing the retail industry is requesting that a federal judge throw out a proposed settlement in an antitrust lawsuit over credit card swipe fees.

The National Retail Federation filed an amicus curiae brief with U.S. District Judge John Gleeson of Brooklyn, N.Y. The case concerns fees that the NRF said cost consumers $30 billion per year, calling the settlement a "surrender" and saying the fees amount to "price fixing." The suit dates back to 2005, when a group of six trade groups and 13 retailers — mostly individual stores and small chains — filed it.

"This is an empty settlement," NRF SVP and general counsel Mallory Duncan said. "It fails to address the price fixing that harms merchants and their customers; It takes away retailers’ rights to ever try again; And it offers virtually nothing in return. It should be tossed out of court as the failure that it is."

NRF said that it had several other retailers that supported the brief had opted out of money offered under the settlement because accepting it would restrict future legal action, and that the share of the $7.25 billion each retailer would receive if it accepted the settlement would amount to less than three months’ worth of swipe fee charges.

"Retailers simply cannot understand how the American system of justice can permit class action lawyers whom they have never met and who know nothing about their business to craft a ‘settlement’ that will preclude them forevermore from seeking redress on future losses without so much as offering them the opportunity to opt out," the NRF said. "It gives the credit card networks carte blanche to set and manipulate interchange rates going forward without fear of future private suits. There is nothing that the credit card networks could give that is worth this unbridled loss of control."

 

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T.PAUL says:
Jul-06-2013 05:51 am

I hope this issue will go smooth fair and square.Swipe fee charges can be annoying and the credit card networks seems to take advantage of the service demands which is totally wrong. Especially that holiday is coming near. Those credit cards would be swipe more than you'll expected. Holiday shopping always use credit cards. As a matter of fact, MasterCard has started offering user info to marketing corporations, though they state the data that's sold is only shopping habits not identities. A financial solution will help you pay off your credit card bill this month.

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