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Former Pabst leader to serve as Mike’s Hard Lemonade president

BY Allison Cerra

CHICAGO — Mike’s Hard Lemonade announced that its president, Philip O’Neil, is leaving the company.

O’Neil, who served as president for five years, will be succeeded by former Pabst president and CEO Kevin Kotecki.

"Phil has been instrumental in building the Mike’s Hard Lemonade business across the United States. We are extremely grateful for his leadership and accomplishments and welcome him as a consultant on the business. He will always be part of the mike’s family,” Mike’s Hard Lemonade founder and chairman Anthony von Mandl said. "Now is the time for our next phase of growth at Mike’s and we are fortunate to have an industry veteran like Kevin Kotecki to lead the company into the future. I look forward to his fresh perspective on the business and have high expectations of what we can accomplish under his stewardship."

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Patients with MS show reduction in symptoms during drug trial

BY Alaric DeArment

CAMBRIDGE, Mass. — An experimental drug for multiple sclerosis produced a noticeable reduction in symptoms of the disease in a late-stage clinical trial, the drug’s developer said Friday.

Genzyme, a unit of French drug maker Sanofi, announced results from a phase-3 study of Aubagio (teriflunomide) in patients with relapsing forms of MS. According to the study, patients taking the drug in the 14-mg strength experienced a 36.3% reduction in annualized relapse rates and 31.5% reduction in the risk of sustained accumulation of disability over a 12-week period.

The study enrolled 1,169 patients who received once-daily doses of Aubagio in the 7-mg or 14-mg strength or placebo. After completing the approximately 18-month trial, patients were followed for 48 to 173 weeks.

In the treatment group that received the 7-mg strength of the drug, there was a 22.3% reduction in annualized relapse rate, but no statistically significant difference between the lower dose and placebo for the risk of 12-week sustained accumulation of disability.


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CVS Caremark research: Many consumers confused about potential changes to U.S. healthcare system

BY Antoinette Alexander

WOONSOCKET, R.I. — The majority of consumers who would be eligible for new healthcare coverage under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act have never heard of the state-based healthcare exchanges — where they will have to shop for coverage beginning in 2014 — while more than half said they believe they will need help in understanding healthcare insurance terms and descriptions, and navigating the healthcare system, according to new research from CVS Caremark.

"Despite all the news coverage about healthcare reform, these survey results clearly show that consumers are confused about the potential changes to our healthcare system," said Helena Foulkes, CVS Caremark EVP and chief healthcare strategy and marketing officer. "While awareness of the new law may grow over the next year as new services are put in place, consumers need help understanding the coming changes and support on how to sign up and participate in the exchanges."

The survey found that 78% of consumers who would be eligible for new healthcare coverage under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act have never heard of the state-based healthcare exchanges, where they will have to shop for coverage beginning in 2014. In addition, 60% of respondents said they believe they will need help in understanding healthcare insurance terms and descriptions and navigating the complex healthcare system.

In addition, the respondents listed doctors as the most credible source for talking about exchanges, followed by pharmacists, nurse practitioners and independent insurance consultants.

"CVS Caremark’s tremendous geographic reach across the U.S., our integrated approach to health care and the accessibility of our pharmacists and nurse practitioners — among the most trusted of advisers according to this survey — give us a variety of effective touch points with healthcare consumers," Foulkes said. "Given our focus on helping people on the path to better health, we expect to play an active role in meeting consumers’ needs in an expanding healthcare system and will be talking with government, healthcare advocates and other organizations to see how we can be an active participant in providing information and services to these consumers."

The survey was conducted online and respondents included more than 1,000 consumers; 70% of those surveyed currently have no healthcare coverage and 30% are covered by individual insurance policies. The survey did not include people with employer-sponsored insurance, or people currently covered by Medicare or Medicaid.


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