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New clinical trial will compare MS drugs

BY Alaric DeArment

CAMBRIDGE, Mass. Swiss drug maker Biogen Idec and Irish drug maker Elan Corp. have started enrolling patients into a late-stage study to evaluate switching from two multiple sclerosis drugs to their own, the two companies announced Friday.

The phase 3b trial will enroll 1,800 MS patients in 27 countries to see how well they fare when switching from Teva’s Copaxone (glatiramer acetate) or Merck KGaA’s Rebif (interferon beta-1a) to Biogen Idec’s and Elan’s Tysabri (natalizumab). Merck KGaA operates in the United States under the trade name EMD to avoid confusion with Whitehouse Station, N.J.-based Merck & Co., a separate company.

“Despite being on therapy, many MS patients still experience disease progression, resulting in a loss of physical abilities and permanent damage to the central nervous system,” trial advisory committee chairman and Cleveland Clinic multiple sclerosis researcher Richard Rudick said in a statement. “Currently, there is limited data to inform decisions about how to switch in patients who have disease activity while on therapy.”

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Meijer kicks off fifth ‘Simply Give’ campaign

BY Allison Cerra

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. For the fifth time in less than 18 months, Meijer is teaming up with its shoppers to help restock the shelves of approximately 191 local food banks as part of the grocer’s “Simply Give” food pantry donation program.

The two-month program, Meijer’s fifth since starting the donation effort in November 2008, seeks to lend a hand to the increasing number of food pantries that struggle to keep up with the growing demand for their services. The previous four “Simply Give” initiatives have raised more than $1 million in food donations that have gone directly to local food banks and pantries. Each one of Meijer’s 191 stores throughout the Midwest has identified a local organization to receive the grocery donation.

The latest “Simply Give” program will run from now through May 15. Two other “Simply Give” food drives are scheduled for the late summer and early fall of this year.

As in previous efforts, the program encourages Meijer shoppers to purchase a $10 Meijer Food Pantry Donation Card at special displays throughout the store. The donation cards are then converted into Meijer Gift cards and given to the local food pantry selected by the store.

As it has done in the past, Meijer is seeding the “Simply Give” program with $100,000 in grocery gift cards that will be divided equally among all the participating food pantries.

“This program is a testament to the compassion our shoppers have toward their neighbors,” said Hank Meijer, co-chairman and CEO. “We’re proud to team up with thousands of our customers to lend a helping hand to those less fortunate and make a difference in the hundreds of communities where we do business.”

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Febreze expands home collection with new diffuser

BY Allison Cerra

CINCINNATI The Febreze home collection is expanding its line of premium scented home decor items with a no spill wood diffuser.

The no spill wood diffuser technology allows Febreze scented oils to be absorbed into the wood and then diffuse through the air for an authentic scent experience without the worry or hassle of spills. The decorative product joins the likes of Febreze Flameless Luminaries, soy candles and room spray to complement the complete Febreze home collection of products that allow consumers to accent their homes with modern design and authentic fragrances.

“Febreze is always looking to create innovative air care products that meet the needs of our target consumer,” said Chad Brizendine, assistant brand manager, Febreze. “The no spill wood diffuser is a great addition to the Febreze home collection and will allow scent and decor-lovers to experience the premium decor products one would find at specialty stores right in the aisle of their local mass retailer.”

In support of the new product launch, Febreze is partnering with Brooke Burke, mom correspondent on the daytime talk show “The Doctors,” host of TV Land’s, “She’s Got the Look” and “mom-prenuer” and co-CEO of the online community for the woman behind the mom ModernMom.com.

The Febreze no spill wood diffuser is available in willow blossom, pomegranate mango, green tea citrus and honeysuckle orchid scents.  The new product and the entire Febreze home collection only is available at Walmart from now through September and then at major retailers nationwide starting in September, with the suggested prices ranging from $14.99 to $16.99.

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