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Together Rx Access Program names GSK veteran new chairman

BY Jim Frederick

ALEXANDRIA, Va. The Together Rx Access Program, a prescription savings program sponsored by leading pharmaceutical companies, said today it has named health industry veteran Michael Pucci of GlaxoSmithKline its board chairman.

Pucci, a 26-year GSK veteran who currently serves as VP of external advocacy for the drug company, will lead a drug-discount program that is now enrolling “thousands of uninsured individuals every week,” according to a statement from the group. Since the industry-sponsored savings program was launched in 2005, more than 1.8 million individuals have enrolled in the Together Rx Access Card, and have collectively saved nearly $80 million on their prescription medicines, according to Together Rx.

Membership is free to applicants with incomes of $30,000 or less – or $60,000 for a family of four – provided they don’t have access to Medicare Part D or other public or private prescription drug coverage. The Together Rx Access Card is good for discounts usually ranging from 25% to 40% on more than 300 branded drugs, as well as generic drug savings.

Together Rx Access also directs patients to the Partnership for Prescription Assistance, a clearinghouse for more than 475 public and private assistance programs, including 180 offered by drug companies. Those who are eligible for the Access Card may qualify for additional savings on prescription medicines, or even free medicines, through other patient-assistance programs in the PPA.

The PPA also connects people to free health clinics in their community.

Pucci has been a Together Rx board member since the program’s inception. He’s also been a trustee for the North Carolina Academy of Family Practice Physicians Foundation, and was recently appointed to the Aquatic Advisory Board for the Triangle Aquatic Center. For four years, he also led the United Way campaign for GlaxoSmithKline, where he raised more than $10 million for charities in the Triangle region of North Carolina.

“Mike is the ideal person to lead our program,” said Roba Whiteley, executive director of Together Rx Access. “His advocacy experience will allow us to continue generating awareness of the program among healthcare professionals, patient advocates, and community leaders in order to reach many more uninsured individuals who, now more than ever, need help affording prescription medications.”.

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Rite Aid issues recall of two PCA peanut products

BY Michael Johnsen

CAMP HILL, Pa. Rite Aid on Friday announced the voluntary recall of two of its products containing peanuts that were sold in many Rite Aid stores. The company has been notified by the manufacturer that these products contain peanuts from Peanut Corporation of America, which is the focus of a Food and Drug Administration investigation into potential salmonella contamination of peanut products.

Rite Aid is not aware of any reported cases of illness related to these products, and it has issued this voluntary recall as a precautionary measure.

Rite Aid has already instructed all of its stores to remove Rite Aid Chocolate Peanuts (15 oz., UPC 1182235538) and Rite Aid Bridge Mix (15 oz., UPC 1182237539).

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American Greetings celebrates Black History Month with inspirational cards

BY Melissa Valliant

CLEVELAND American Greetings is recognizing Black History Month with a new Black History Month card collection that includes birthday, encouragement and friendship categories. Words from Pastor T.D. Jakes, as well as inspirational messages from iconic boxer Muhammad Ali, decorate the cards.

The Ebony Inspirations collection also salutes the influence African Americans have had on American history and features African American icons like Halle Berry, Vannessa Williams, Jesse Owens, Ray Charles and B.B. King.

American Greetings cards can be found at participating drug chains, grocery stores and super centers nationwide, as well as in American Greetings and Carlton Cards retail stores.

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