HEALTH

Report: Legislation restoring FSA OTC coverage is coming

BY Michael Johnsen

WASHINGTON — Legislation repealing a requirement that nonprescription medicines would need an accompanying doctor’s prescription in order to qualify for reimbursement from employee-paid flexible spending accounts could be introduced to both Houses as soon as next week, according to a report published Tuesday in the political daily Politico.

Sen. Kay Hutchison, R-Texas, and Rep. Erik Paulsen, R-Minn., are expected to introduce legislation that would remove two restrictions on the use of FSAs: the aforementioned OTC prescription requirement and a $2,500 cap on employee contributions, which goes into effect in 2013.

Save Flexible Spending Plans, a consumer advocacy campaign created by the Employers Council on Flexible Compensation, also has plans to increase awareness around the issue on the Hill. The site currently is collecting individual stories with the intent of passing those along to members of Congress.

And the Foundation for HealthSMART Consumers, a New Jersey nonprofit, estimated that the prescription-restriction on FSA OTCs will end up costing an additional $695 million in healthcare spending.

For the full article, go here.

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HBB rolls out Lazy Cakes

BY Alaric DeArment

MEMPHIS — The words “chocolate brownie” and “dietary supplement” may seem contradictory, but one company has managed to bring the two together.

Memphis, Tenn.-based HBB is touting Lazy Cakes, a chocolate brownie packed with a blend of such herbs as passion flower, rose hip extract, valerian root extract and melatonin. Lazy Cakes are designed as a relaxation and sleep aid for people with busy, stressful lifestyles.

“It’s 2011: People are checking their smart phones 24/7, flying to multiple cities in a day and getting fired for reaching their breaking point,” HBB CEO Terry Harris said. “It’s time for everyone to relax. With Lazy Cakes, we’re allowing them to relax with a great-tasting evening snack.”

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NPA VP exits for role at FDA

BY Michael Johnsen

WASHINGTON — One of the more recognizable faces of the Natural Products Association, VP global government and scientific affairs Daniel Fabricant, will be leaving association work in favor of the Food and Drug Administration, Drug Store News learned Wednesday.

A staunch advocate of natural products who has testified before Congress on behalf of the supplement industry, Fabricant will join the FDA as director of the division of dietary supplement programs by the end of February.

“I am grateful for the opportunities I had at NPA and feel immensely proud of all that has been achieved during my time at the association on the scientific, regulatory and government affairs fronts,” Fabricant wrote in an e-mail blast. Cara Welch and Liz Hurst will assume Fabricant’s responsibilities at the association, Fabricant said.

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