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Online grocer adds ‘Ask Peapod’ as Amazon’s latest Alexa skill

BY Michael Johnsen

CHICAGO — Online grocer Peapod on Tuesday launched "Ask Peapod," its Alexa skill for hands-free, voice ordering that enables immediate, in-the-moment additions to shoppers' weekly grocery carts. Peapod sees voice ordering as the natural next step and is investing in more innovations designed for the connected shopper.

"The beauty of online grocery shopping is that you can add to your order throughout the week and at the very moment you remember that you need something," stated Cat de Merode, VP Product Peapod. "In fact, we know that our customers often visit Peapod multiple times throughout the week while completing their orders. Now, as soon as a shopper thinks of an item, they have the option of adding it their cart via Alexa, their desktop or our award-winning mobile app for the ultimate convenience."

In addition to adding and removing items in the cart, Alexa can reorder a customer's last order and alert a customer to their delivery date.

"At Peapod, we love new technologies, particularly when they fit so naturally into household planning. Knowing that 51% of Amazon Echo users have their devices in the kitchen, launching 'Ask Peapod' on Alexa was a natural innovation for Peapod as we continue to create real meal solutions that fit into normal at-home behaviors," de Merode said. "We're excited to add more features for our shopping chefs too, so keep an ear out for those updates."

 

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AAM adds deputy general counsel

BY David Salazar

WASHINGTON — The Association for Accessible Medicines has named a new deputy general counsel. Rachel Sher joins the advocacy organization from her role as a senior policy analyst in the Food and Drug Administration’s Office of Policy.

In her role at the FDA, Sher was the agency’s lead in the legislative process around the 21st Century Cures Act, offering the commissioner and senior officials guidance on the legislative and policy issues involved. In this capacity, her policy discussions with congressional staff focused on provisions that related to the generic and biosimilar industry.

“Ensuring the widespread availability of safe and effective generic drugs and biosimilars is one of the most important steps we can take in the face of today's spiraling healthcare costs,” Sher said. “AAM plays a critical role in achieving this goal and I am thrilled to have the opportunity to join this team.”

Before joining the FDA, Sher worked for 10 years for former U.S. Rep. Henry Waxman as senior FDA counsel. In that capacity, she drafted and negotiated such major FDA legislation as the Drug Quality and Safety Act, the FDA Safety and Innovation Act, the Biologics Price Competition and Innovation Act (enacted as part of the Affordable Care Act), the Food Safety and Modernization Act, and the FDA Amendments Act of 2007.

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MinuteClinic offers workplace health services through new partnership

BY David Salazar

WOONSOCKET, R.I. — CVS Health’s MinuteClinic on Tuesday announced that it had joined the Alere eScreen Occupational Health Network in a move that will allow employers to direct employees to MinuteClinic to complete occupational health screenings.

"MinuteClinic is pleased to partner with Alere eScreen to provide workplace health services to employers and their employees at times and locations that are convenient for them," MinuteClinic SVP and executive director Sharon Vitti said. "Our practitioners are trusted and knowledgeable resources for health care services in their communities and they are looking forward to being able to provide this important service to local employees as well."

Employees who are required to complete screenings pre-employment or as part of their employment can visit MinuteClinic for such services as biometric screenings, vaccinations, Dept. of Transportation physicals and drug testing. Patients can search the Alere eScreen site to find a testing location, among them their local MinuteClinic. They then print an e-passport to be presented to the provider identifying the tests their employer requested.

“Alere is excited to be an enabling partner for MinuteClinic in their desire to dramatically improve the accessibility of workplace testing services,” Alere global president of technology Sanjay Malkani said. “With the Alere eScreen system already in place, and access to a broad services menu including biometric screening, DOT physicals, vaccinations, and drug testing, MinuteClinic is poised to become a valuable workplace health destination for employers nationwide.”

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