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CNNMoney sits down with Walgreens chief to discuss future of health care and what it means for pharmacy

BY Michael Johnsen

NEW YORK — CNNMoney on Thursday featured a Q&A with Greg Wasson, Walgreens president and CEO, to talk about how health care is transforming and how Walgreens is rethinking what it means to be a drug store in what will become a new healthcare paradigm with the implementation of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act in January. 

"As the digital revolution remakes retailing and the Affordable Care Act transforms health care, drug stores need fresh thinking," wrote Geoff Colvin, CNNMoney senior editor-at-large. "Walgreens CEO Greg Wasson, 54, is bringing it to America’s largest retail pharmacy chain [by] reimagining his stores. Sushi bars? Beauty consultants?"

Wasson shared with CNNMoney how retail pharmacy already has adapted to fill a gap in the convenient and efficient delivery of health care with services like immunizations, for example. Walgreens is now ramping up for the "30 million to 40 million" people who will gain access to prescription therapy in January.

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Former CMS, FDA chief McClellan to headline Cardinal Health RBC business program

BY Michael Johnsen

SEATTLE — Healthcare policy wizard Mark McClellan, M.P.A., M.D., PhD., will deliver the industry session on Friday, Aug. 9 at Cardinal Health’s annual Retail Business Conference. Titled "Driving the Conversation: A Look at the Future of Healthcare in America," the former administrator of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services and commissioner of the Food and Drug Administration, will focus on the crucial role community pharmacy will play in shaping that future.

Widely regarded as one of the most respected and forward-looking thinkers in U.S. healthcare policy, McClellan is an expert on the nation’s current and future healthcare challenges. As the only person to have led both the FDA (2002-2004) and CMS (2004-2006), McClellan brings a unique behind-the-scenes perspective of America’s healthcare system. As head of CMS, overseeing a larger budget than the Pentagon, McClellan helped lead some of the biggest and most important healthcare policy reforms in the last 40-plus years, including the Medicare D prescription drug benefit — a major victory for seniors and community pharmacy.

As a political appointee who served under Presidents Bill Clinton and George W. Bush, McClellan is a two-time recipient of the Arrow Award for Outstanding Research in Health Economics, and currently serves as senior fellow and director of the Engelberg Center for Health Care Reform and as Leonard D. Schaeffer Chair in Health Policy Studies at the Brookings Institution. He has been engaged in directing healthcare policy for more than a decade, and is a past member of the President’s Council of Economic Advisers.

McClellan is just one big part of the jam-packed lineup of education, critical business insights, networking and buying opportunities slated for Cardinal Health RBC 2013, Aug. 7 to 10, at Seattle’s Washington State Convention Center. For more information, visit cardinalhealth.com/rbc.

And to keep up with all the news from Cardinal Health RBC 2013, visit DrugStoreNews.com/Cardinal-Health-Retail-Business-Conference-2013.


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Skinnygirl brand launches new line of zero-calorie liquid sweeteners

BY Jason Owen

CARMEL, Ind. — Skinnygirl announced today a new line of zero-calorie liquid sweeteners made with natural monk fruit, agave, and stevia that will soon hit store shelves.

The new Skinnygirl Sweeteners are concentrated, zero-calorie, gluten-free and carb-free containing 80 to 160 servings — depending on the sweetener type. They come in slim, convenient 1.68-oz. bottles that fit easily in a purse.

"Skinnygirl Sweeteners are sensible and easy to use because they dissolve instantly and allow you to portion to your preferred sweetness," explains Dannielle Patterson, brand manager for Skinnygirl Sweeteners.

"Skinnygirl recognizes that today’s woman is on-the-go. She needs products that make it easier for her to lead a healthy, more balanced lifestyle, without compromising taste," says Bethenny Frankel, creator of the Skinnygirl Brand.

Several options made with both natural and organic sweeteners will be available:

  • Monk Fruit extract originates from real monk fruit native to a mountainous region in Southern Asia. Skinnygirl Monk Fruit tastes sweet and fruity;
  • Agave is a simple food that comes from the agave plant and is a favorite of original Skinnygirl Bethenny Frankel; and
  • Stevia is a popular and widely recognized natural sweetener that provides a pure clean taste. Skinnygirl Stevia comes in a liquid option, as well as in organic individual powdered packets.

Skinnnygirl Sweeteners will be available nationwide as of August 1, 2013.


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