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NY city council votes in favor of raising cigarette purchase age to 21

BY Antoinette Alexander

NEW YORK — New York City Council voted on Wednesday to hike the minimum age for buying cigarettes from 18 years to 21 years.

The bill also increases the minimum purchasing age to 21 years for certain tobacco products and electronic-vapor smokes, according to published reports. Mayor Michael Bloomberg has 30 days to sign the bills into law and the minimum age bill will take effect 180 days after enactment.

“Between 2001 and 2011, New York City cut the proportion of public high school students who smoke by more than half. However, the decline in youth smoking in our city has stalled. We know that tobacco dependence can begin very soon after a young person first tries smoking so it’s critical that we stop young people from smoking before they ever start. By increasing the smoking age to 21 years we will help prevent another generation from the ill health and shorter life expectancy that comes with smoking,” Bloomberg said.

According to health officials, more than 80% of the adult smokers in New York City began smoking before the age of 21 years. So, the new restrictions could protect teens and prevent many from ever starting to smoke.

 

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AmerisourceBergen reports Q4 results

BY Antoinette Alexander

VALLEY FORGE, Pa. — AmerisourceBergen announced on Thursday that fourth quarter revenue rose 28.3% as it gains “strong momentum” heading into fiscal 2014.

“In our September quarter, we delivered strong results and successfully implemented the first phase of our new expanded contract with Walgreens,” stated Steven Collis, president and CEO. “Our performance in the quarter and the full year, combined with the opportunities we have on the horizon, drive strong momentum heading into fiscal 2014. Our innovative programs and services, strategic relationship with Walgreens and Alliance Boot GmbH, operational excellence and financial discipline give us great confidence in our ability to continue to deliver tremendous value to our customers, suppliers, associates and shareholders.”

As reported by Drug Store News, AmerisourceBergen and Walgreens officially announced in early September the launch of a 10-year relationship to distribute pharmaceuticals to more than 8,100 Walgreens locations across the country.

During the quarter ended Sept. 30, revenue totaled $24.5 billion, up 28.3% compared with the year-ago period. This boost reflects a 34% increase in AmerisourceBergen Drug Corp. revenue, and a 12% increase in AmerisourceBergen Specialty Group revenue.

Operating income during the quarter totaled $318.6 million, flat versus the year-ago period.

Adjusted diluted earnings per share from continuing operations were up 2.6% to 79 cents in the quarter compared with 77 cents in the previous fiscal year’s fourth quarter.

For fiscal year 2013, adjusted earnings per share from continuing operations were $3.14, up 6.1% compared with the prior year GAAP diluted earnings per share. Revenue totaled $88 billion, up 12.7%. Operating income decreased 2.9%.

 

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Target, Medica partnership offers benefits for health insurer’s members

BY Alaric DeArment

MINNETONKA, Minn. — Members of a Minnesota-based health insurer will have the opportunity to receive a $5 Target gift card when they visit one of the retailer’s clinics for a flu vaccination.

Minnetonka, Minn.-based health insurer Medica announced a partnership with the Minneapolis-based mass-merchandise retailer whereby patients would also get $10 co-pays at Target for "convenience care" — rather than the standard $20 — if they purchase Medica insurance on their own. That benefit will become available in January, though the flu shot program, as well as another program that offers breast pumps for free to new mothers when they present their Medica identification cards and a prescription at a Target pharmacy in the health insurer’s service area, are available already.

"We believe these programs will help motivate our members to get care that follows recommended guidelines and best practices," Medica chief clinical and innovation officer Mark Werner said. "Medica is committed to ensuring convenient, quality care at affordable prices. We are delighted to introduce these programs that benefit our members."

 

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