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Consumers restrict discretionary spending in June

BY Allison Cerra

WASHINGTON — U.S. retail sales decline during the month of June, the Census Bureau reported Tuesday.

U.S. retail and food services sales for the month, adjusted for seasonal variation and holiday and trading-day differences, but not for price changes, were $401.5 billion, an decrease of 0.5% from the previous month but 3.8% above the year-ago period. Retail trade sales were down 0.5% from last month but 3.5% above last year.

Looking across retail categories, adjusted sales at grocery stores during the month of April increased about 0.1% to roughly $47.06 billion. Health and personal care stores saw a slight decline to nearly $22.8 billion. Retail sales for drug stores and pharmacies were not recorded; however, sales experienced a slight drop from April to May (about $19.14 billion). General merchandise stores’ sales decreased 0.2% seasonally-adjusted month-to-month and remained flat unadjusted year-over-year.

Commenting on the results, the National Retail Federation said there is "no doubt about it that consumers cooled off on discretionary spending this spring."

"While the retail industry remains confident in an incremental recovery, today’s statistics should concern every policy-maker in Washington, and compel them to revisit burdensome regulations and job-killing tax increases set to take effect early next year," NRF president and CEO Matthew Shay said.

Added NRF chief economist Jack Kleinhenz, "Weak economic numbers over the past few weeks have increased anxiety about the future direction of the economy. Today’s data is discouraging but not demoralizing. If you look at the first half of the year overall, retail sales actually increased 4.6% year-over-year, indicating that the economy is improving but maybe not quick enough to impact consumer spending and job growth."

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Kimberly-Clark expands Poise portfolio with line for menopausal women

BY Allison Cerra

DALLAS — Kimberly-Clark has launched a line of consumer products specifically designed with menopausal women in mind.

Poise Feminine Wellness represents the Poise brand’s expansion into the feminine wellness category in the United States and Canada, following a rollout in parts of Latin America, Kimberly-Clark said. The line features five products designed to work naturally with a woman’s body during menopause, including: roll-on cooling gel; body cooling towelettes; personal lubricant; panty fresheners and feminine wash.

"Fifty million women across North America are approaching or experiencing menopause, but until now there has been no suite of consumer products that helps them cope on a daily basis," said Rebecca Dunphey, Poise brand director at Kimberly-Clark. "The Poise Feminine Wellness line is specifically designed to help women approach this life stage with confidence. These products are a natural extension for the Poise brand, which millions of women already rely on for discrete protection from light bladder leakage."

The launch of the new line will be supported by an integrated marketing program, "The 2nd Talk," which provides women with a new way to talk about menopause and approach the life stage with confidence. The integrated program will include an online destination for women at The2ndTalk.com that shares menopause knowledge, support and solutions, as well as television, print and online advertising, media and expert partnerships, public relations and in-store support.

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McKesson: Seven new trends could affect medication adherence strategies

BY Alaric DeArment

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. — Changes in healthcare consumption, advances in technology and support from pharmacists are among seven new trends that could affect programs designed to improve medication adherence, according to a new study by McKesson.

The company said the trends confirmed what it called the need for comprehensive adherence solutions that include technology and personalized interactions to help physicians, pharmacists and manufacturers address issues that keep patients from taking their medications as prescribed.

"With increased attention on medication adherence, the industry has made progress; however, we must move more quickly toward a more patient-centered approach," McKesson Patient Relationship Solutions VP and general manager Peggy Yelinek said. "When combined with our extensive experience implementing comprehensive adherence programs, our research clearly validates that technology can be used to enable personalized conversations that result in more meaningful patient interactions and increased engagement."

McKesson identified the seven trends as:

  • The healthcare consumer is changing: The healthcare industry’s focus has shifted from acute care to chronic disease management due to the proliferation of digital resources, cultural shifts and an aging and overweight population

  • Pharmacists deliver more adherence support than ever: Pharmacists have a "unique" opportunity to help patients adhere to medication regimens because of their accessibility and the trust placed in them;

  • Physicians are critical to adherence and need help: McKesson called physicians a "critical first step" in maintaining adherence, but many say they don’t have the time for adequate adherence counseling;

  • Advances in technology support adherence: Technologies, such as electronic health records and electronic prescribing improve access to data and provide linkages across healthcare stakeholders, creating new opportunities to influence adherence and increase patient engagement;

  • Payment incentives influence health outcomes: Payment incentives, part of the Affordable Care Act, have been designed to encourage a focus on chronic-care management and reward health outcomes;

  • One-size-fits-all adherence approaches are not effective: Individual adherence solutions, such as predictive modeling, gaming, social media, pharmacy programs and financial incentives can affect adherence in certain situations, but McKesson said implementing comprehensive adherence solutions is the only way to tackle all the challenges preventing medication adherence; and

  • Changes in regulatory policy need to be tracked: Regulatory changes ranging from the Affordable Care Act to the Sunshine Act are changing how the healthcare industry shares data.


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