HEALTH

EnLiven probiotic yogurt exclusively available at Walmart

BY Allison Cerra

CLEVELAND — A distributor of over-the-counter probiotic products has developed and launched a new yogurt line exclusively at Walmart stores.

Ganeden’s enLiven yogurt is available in four flavors, including vanilla, blueberry, strawberry and peach, and features GanedenBC30 probiotics, the company said.

"Yogurt has long been touted as a healthy breakfast and snack food," said Carl Freund, VP consumer products at Ganeden. "We believe Walmart shoppers will enjoy our tasty new enLiven yogurt with beneficial probiotics, as it is not only good for you and your whole family, but it is affordably priced to help save you money."

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Report: Arkansas considers switching PSE to Rx only

BY Michael Johnsen

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. — Arkansas on Friday became the fourth state this year to entertain making the popular decongestant pseudoephedrine available only by prescription.

Rep. Marshall Wright, D-Forrest City, on Feb. 18 filed House Bill 1444 in an effort to address the meth problem by rescheduling the precursor ingredient PSE from schedule V to schedule III. “We’ve got a growing epidemic in Arkansas that we can’t ignore anymore,” Wright said, as reported by the Arkansas News. “Meth is killing us as a state. It has wide-reaching, detrimental effects on children, families and law enforcement.”

Wright suggested the prescription-only PSE law in neighboring Mississippi is driving meth addicts into Arkansas in search of PSE-containing products.

Tennessee, which shares a border with both Mississippi and Arkansas, is considering similar legislation.

The three other states with which Arkansas shares a border — Missouri, Oklahoma and Louisiana — have an electronic tracking system in place. Missouri and Louisiana both employ a multi-state database through the National Precursor Log Exchange.

Sen. Percy Malone, D-Arkadelphia, who owns a pharmacy, stands opposed to Wright’s bill, the Arkansas News reported.

Arkansas already utilizes LeadsOnLabs to help electronically track the sale of PSE statewide. The state instituted the LeadsOnLabs system statewide in an attempt to eradicate meth abuse in the state in 2008, under the direction of Attorney General Dustin McDaniel. The system has been credited with helping law enforcement bust meth labs and track down meth abusers across the state.

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Task force takes down Medicare fraud schemes

BY Michael Johnsen

WASHINGTON — The Medicare Fraud Strike Force on Thursday charged 111 defendants in nine cities — including doctors, nurses and healthcare company owners and executives — for their alleged participation in Medicare fraud schemes involving more than $225 million in false billing. The operation marks the largest federal healthcare-fraud takedown.

“Over the last two years, our joint efforts have more than quadrupled the number of anti-fraud Strike Force teams operating in fraud hot spots around the country from two to nine, … bringing hundreds of charges against criminals who had billed Medicare for hundreds of millions of dollars,” said Health and Human Services secretary Kathleen Sebelius. “Last year alone, our partnership recovered a record $4 billion on behalf of taxpayers. From 2008 to 2010, every dollar the federal government spent under its Health Care Fraud and Abuse Control programs averaged a return on investment of $6.80.”

Many of the cases involved bilking Medicare out of monies for durable medical equipment. False billings for home health care and prescription drugs also were prevalent.

Also on Thursday, the Department of Justice and HHS announced the expansion of Medicare Fraud Strike Force operations to two additional cities — Dallas and Chicago.

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