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CMS plan to boost MTM gains traction in Congress

BY Jim Frederick

“Better care, smarter spending, healthier people.”

Those were the goals set forth by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services in September when it unveiled plans for a five-year federal experiment to gauge the effectiveness of expanded medication therapy management for Medicare patients. CMS’ Center for Medicare and Medicaid Innovation will launch the Part D Enhanced Medication Therapy Management pilot program in 11 states, beginning in January 2017, in a bid to spur Medicare Part D prescription drug plans in those states to boost their commitment to pharmacist-provided MTM services for their members.

(Click here to view the full report.)

The long-term goal, according to the agency, is “to test whether providing Part D sponsors with additional payment incentives and regulatory flexibilities will engender enhancements in the MTM program, leading to improved therapeutic outcomes, while reducing net Medicare expenditures.”

The push to expand MTM services has gained traction at CMS — and within Congress — as its benefits as a tool for improving long-term patient outcomes and lowering health costs have become clear. Late last year, 44 members of the House, including 24 Republicans and 20 Democrats, sent a letter to Secretary of Health and Human Services Sylvia Burwell, urging the participation of retail pharmacists in the Enhanced MTM program, and the House Committee on Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Health held a hearing on “Examining the Medicare Part D Medication Therapy Management Program.”

In their letter to Burwell, the house members noted, “we believe the proposed enhanced MTM model to be a positive step forward in improving the Part D MTM program. However, we also believe that without participation of retail community pharmacists, the testing of enhanced MTM models will fall short of achieving the maximum potential in terms of positive outcomes and impact on beneficiary health.”

Community pharmacy advocates laud the moves. “Studies conducted by entities including … CMS, the Congressional Budget Office and the Medicare Payment Advisory Committee show — among other results — that improved medication use leads to better health outcomes for patients, including reduced mortality; the reliance on fewer healthcare services, such as hospital readmissions and emergency room visits; and more cost-effective treatment of chronic conditions,” NACDS noted.

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Kate Farms redesigns packaging to reflect rebranding

BY Gina Acosta

SANTA BARBARA, Calif. — A leader in plant-based, ready-to-drink meal replacements is debuting new branding and packaging to reflect its nutritional quality and taste.

Santa Barbara-based Kate Farms partnered with branding agency Hornall Anderson, whose clients include Starbucks and REI, to redesign the Kate Farms Komplete packaging to reflect its unique nutritional quality and great taste. Kate Farms Komplete is the world's first organic, non-GMO, vegan, gluten, dairy and soy-free RTD meal replacement shake.

"It was an honor to work with the folks at Kate Farms who are driven to make people's lives better by offering something exceptional in the market," said Jack Anderson, co-founder and chairman of Hornall Anderson. "They personally have experienced the impact that whole nutrition from nature can make on one's health. Our goal was to express their company motto 'All Good Things' in the refreshed brand."

In other news, Kate Farms also introduced seasoned industry veteran Michael Fougere as COO at Natural Products Expo West this week in Anaheim.

"Michael Fougere's track record of driving successful and strategic growth in the beverage industry will further expand Kate Farms Komplete's distribution without sacrificing our exceptional and unique nutritional quality," said Richard Laver, Kate Farms' founder.

Fougere was at the helm of Coca-Cola's entrance into New Age beverages, played a key role in the Coke-Nestlé Refreshment Company partnership, and was part of the Power Ade National launch team. Formerly VP of operations at Honest Tea, he has key former roles at Muscle Milk, POM Wonderful, Zico Coconut water and Plum Organics.

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Hain Celestial rolling out new natural beauty products

BY Gina Acosta

LAKE SUCCESS, N.Y. — One of the most popular brands of organic and natural personal care products is launching new products this week at the Natural Products Expo West.

Expo West is the world's largest and premier tradeshow for the natural, organic and healthy products industry and is expected to host more than 70,000 attendees.

"As a company known for setting the standard for organic, natural and better-for-you products since the 1990s, we are proud of our brands and our new product innovation, which solidifies our leadership in the organic and natural, health and wellness space," said Irwin D. Simon, founder, president and CEO of Hain Celestial.  "Our best-in-class organic, non-GMO sourcing capabilities and our ability to identify emerging and significant consumer trends resonate with consumers and our customers across all generations with our food, beverage, snack, protein and personal care products."

Hain Celestial's featured personal care products include:

  • Alba Botanica brand Body in the Buff freshly-fragranced, biodegradable body scrubs; Very Emollient Mineral Sunscreen Sprays for reef-safe, broad spectrum SPF 35 sun protection; and Cooling Aloe Burn Relief Spray for instant, pain relieving treatment of sunburned skin.
  • Avalon Organics brand Intense Defense with Vitamin C Detoxifying Facial Towelettes cleanse, tone and hydrate in one step; Antioxidant Facial Oil crafted to protect skin from environmental stressors; Intense Defense Sheer Moisture SPF 10 daily moisturizer with mineral sunscreen for incidental UV exposure; Wrinkle Therapy Cleansing Oil to help reduce fine lines;  Brilliant Balance  Purifying Facial Towelettes, hypo-allergenic and dermatologist tested; Damage Control Argan Oil Shampoo and Conditioner to help resist the visual signs of aging hair, leaving it soft and shiny.
  • JASÖN brand introduces indulgent, nourishing Foaming Shower Oils that instantly transform into moisturizing, cleansing foams.  The Gentle Basics line offers clinically-tested, hypoallergenic hydration for people with dry, sensitive skin while the Total Protection Sea Salt Mouth Rinse cares for the whole mouth and freshens breath with a Cool Mint flavor.  Dry Spray Deodorants deliver quick-dry, 24-hour odor protection, available in 3 fresh scents and JASÖN Men, a new line featuring Dry Spray Deodorant, Stick Deodorant and All-in-One Body Wash, provides just-for-Men personal care, each one with the same woodsy fragrance.
  • Queen Helene brand introduces 100% Coconut Oil, rich in antioxidant Vitamin E and polyphenols that are beneficial to skin, hair and nails.

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