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House restores OTC reimbursements under FSAs; bill passes to Senate

BY Michael Johnsen

WASHINGTON — The House of Representatives on Thursday passed the Protect Medical Innovation Act of 2012 by a vote of 270-to-146, which will reinstate over-the-counter medicines as eligible expenses under flexible spending accounts without the requisite prescription established by the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act last year.

"By reinstating the ability of Americans to use their flexible spending accounts for over-the-counter medication and by making it possible for them to reclaim their unused money, we are making it easier for Americans to be in charge of both their health care and their finances," said Rep. Tim Huelskamp, R-Kan., who co-sponsored the legislation.

The repeal language included in the bill is from the Restoring Access to Medication Act (H.R. 5842), introduced by Rep. Lynn Jenkins, R-Kan., which was approved by the House Ways and Means Committee last week.

The bill now heads to the Senate next for consideration.

The passage of the bill received praise from industry leaders, including the Consumer Healthcare Products Association.

"The House of Representatives’ vote [today] is a win for America’s tax-payers who use health savings accounts to manage their family’s healthcare costs," CHPA president and CEO Scott Melville in a release issued late Thursday. "How an individual or family chooses to spend the dollars they set aside in a flexible spending arrangement should be based on their healthcare needs and not hindered by a policy that does more to reduce healthcare access than expand it."


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Godiva boosts coffee line

BY Allison Cerra

EMERYVILLE, Calif. — Godiva Coffee has introduced two new flavors.

The new Godiva Coffee summer flavors include berry crème brûlée, a medium-roast coffee with the flavor of creamy crème brûlée with fresh, ripe blueberry notes and a caramelized sugar finish; and white chocolate coconut, a medium roast coffee with the flavor of Godiva white chocolate with a luscious coconut finish. In addition to the new summer flavors, Godiva year-round coffee flavors include chocolate truffle, french vanilla, hazelnut crème and breakfast blend.

New Godiva coffee carries a suggested retail price from $8.99 to $10.99.

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Madhava Natural Sweeteners rolls out fair-trade-certified organic raw agave nectar

BY Allison Cerra

LONGMONT, Colo. — Madhava Natural Sweeteners has introduced raw organic agave nectar that now is fair-trade-certified.

Starting this week, Madhava will be shipping fair-trade-certified organic raw agave nectar to supermarkets and natural food stores nationwide. Madhava raw organic agave nectar is made from the natural juice of the weber blue agave plant, which is organically grown and sustainably farmed in the Sierra Madres region of Mexico.

"We are proud to make this important move as part of our ongoing commitment to sustainability," Madhava EVP Victoria Hartman said. "We are pleased to offer consumers the opportunity to make a difference and help support farmers, their land and their communities with every raw agave purchase they make."

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