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Kroger’s new private label seeks to provide customers with ‘simple’ food

BY Allison Cerra

CINCINNATI — Kroger has introduced a new private-label brand that’s designed to take the guesswork out of food selection by providing shoppers with access to nearly 250 "honest, easy and affordable items for simply better living."

Kroger said that its Simple Truth products are free from 101 artificial preservatives and ingredients that some customers have said they do not want in their foods, while the Simple Truth Organic line is certified by the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Together, the brands span more than 30 product categories, including a wide variety of foods, such as milk, salads, dried fruit, sodas, yogurt, chips and quinoa. Kroger noted that all Simple Truth and Simple Truth Organic products are clearly marked with the brand’s green circular logo and contain straightforward ingredient statements. Simple Truth Organic items display the USDA organic seal on the front of packaging, while Simple Truth products have highly visible identifiers that indicate their category.

Simple Truth and Simple Truth Organic brands will be rolled out in phases beginning this month with new food introductions, including cereals, frozen pizza and vegetarian options. By January 2013, both brands will collectively expand to more than 40 product categories and appear in many aisles at Kroger’s family of stores. Simple Truth and Simple Truth Organic brands are being introduced to customers nationwide through an integrated marketing campaign, involving both in-store and online components.

"While organic products are available in most conventional grocery stores, our customers told us that labels can be confusing, and there’s a general belief in the marketplace that organic means more expensive," Kroger VP natural foods Mary Ellen Adcock said. "At Kroger we understand these challenges, so we’re offering our shoppers the Simple Truth Organic brand, an easy, more clearly labeled and affordable way to buy organic products."

Additional information about Simple Truth offerings can be found on the brand’s website.

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Sandoz launches authorized generic of Diovan HCT

BY Alaric DeArment

NEW YORK — Generic drug maker Sandoz has launched an authorized generic version of a drug used to treat hypertension.

The generics division of Swiss drug maker Novartis announced the introduction of valsartan and hydrochlorothiazide tablets, a generic version of Novartis’ Diovan HCT. Novartis will continue marketing the branded version of the drug, which had sales of $2.3 billion in 2011 together with Diovan (valsartan).

"We are pleased to offer a high-quality generic version of this leading treatment to the tens of millions of Americans working to control their blood pressure," Sandoz president Don DeGolyer said. "As part of the Novartis Group, which has a leading global position in both branded and generic medicines, we are uniquely positioned to maximize access and choice for patients and healthcare professionals."

An authorized generic is a branded drug sold under its generic name at a reduced price.


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CVS Caremark, Rhode Island Free Clinic partner to help underserved Rhode Islanders

BY Antoinette Alexander

PROVIDENCE, R.I. — CVS Caremark and the Rhode Island Free Clinic have announced a partnership to help the uninsured, working poor in Rhode Island get access to the vital medications they need. Through this collaboration, the clinic’s patients can get prescriptions filled at no cost, and can receive face-to-face pharmacist counseling at three CVS/pharmacy locations in the greater Providence area.

“We are so appreciative of this invaluable partnership with CVS Caremark,” stated Marie Ghazal, CEO of the Rhode Island Free Clinic. “We provide free, comprehensive health care to approximately 2,000 uninsured Rhode Islanders each year, and this partnership will provide them with increased access and expert counsel for the medications they need.” Prior to the partnership, the clinic relied on dozens of pharmacists and pharmacy technicians who were donating their time to fill the nearly 15,000 prescriptions needed by patients each year.

CVS Caremark began partnering with the Rhode Island Free Clinic in 2010 when the company awarded the clinic a $50,000 grant from its Foundation — the CVS Caremark Charitable Trust — to help cover the costs of prescriptions needed by the clinic’s patients. As the number of patients that the clinic was serving increased, the clinic became concerned about maintaining the quality of their pharmacy program and reached out to CVS Caremark for an innovative solution to this growing need.

“At CVS Caremark, we have a strong philanthropic focus on providing access to quality health care to underserved populations, making our work with the Rhode Island Free Clinic a natural fit,” stated Larry Merlo, president and CEO of CVS Caremark. “This partnership allows us to help Rhode Islanders on their path to better health by connecting them with our pharmacists who can provide counseling and support.”

Merlo noted that the enhanced offerings of the partnership will also allow the clinic to prioritize their limited resources and focus on providing quality healthcare services to Rhode Islanders who need it most.

Through the strengthened partnership between CVS Caremark and the Rhode Island Free Clinic, patients of the clinic can get their prescriptions filled at no cost at three CVS/pharmacy locations in the state. These locations, requested by the clinic based on where their patients live, include CVS/pharmacy stores at 309 Broad Street in Central Falls, 1195 Oaklawn Avenue in Cranston and 960 Broad Street in Providence.


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