HEALTH

Weight-loss aid Lichi hits Rite Aid, GNC shelves

BY Michael Johnsen

NEW YORK Bainbridge & Knight recently announced the launch of its weight-loss diet aid Lichi, an herbal dietary supplement containing the “superfruit” lychee.

 

Lichi is a complete fat-fighting formula of 17 active ingredients, the company stated, including resveratrol, a plant-based substance that combines antioxidant attributes with anti-inflammatory, anti-aging and weight-loss properties, using cinnamon bark extract, cayenne pepper, niacin, L-carnitine and conjugated linoleic acid.

 

 

The new weight-loss product will be on the shelves of Rite Aid and GNC beginning in November, the company noted.

 

The new diet aid retails for a suggested $29.99 for a package of 90 softgels.

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Independents blast Walmart-Humana plan

BY Jim Frederick

ALEXANDRIA, Va. The independent pharmacy industry is crying foul over a new plan by Walmart and insurance giant Humana to steer seniors to Walmart stores via a steeply discounted Medicare Part D prescription drug plan that gives preferred rates to Walmart pharmacy customers.

In a fast and furious response to Friday’s launch of the Humana Walmart-Preferred Rx Plan, the National Community Pharmacists Association blasted the retail giant for what it asserted is a heavy-handed attempt to gain market share through its massive financial firepower. The new PDP, NCPA asserted, “imposes higher co-payments on seniors who choose to continue using their trusted local, community pharmacy.”

Walmart and Humana jointly unveiled the Preferred Rx Plan this morning, roiling a Medicare Part D prescription drug market that currently serves some 18 million seniors who rely on PDPs for their prescription services. The new plan offers Medicare beneficiaries a single national monthly plan premium of $14.80 –– less than half the national prescription drug plan average, according to some estimates –– and a co-pay of just $2 on many generic drugs.

The caveat: Those rates are only offered through Walmart, Sam’s Club and Neighborhood Market pharmacies.

NCPA president Joseph Harmison was incensed. “This is simply Walmart’s latest ‘loss leader,’ intended to bring more people through its doors at the expense of patient care and quality customer service,” he charged Friday. “Patients taking a brand-name drug or [those] who can’t or don’t want to take a therapeutic substitute for the drug their doctor prescribed may see little, if any, savings.”

“What’s more, patients are being financially coerced to get their medications at Walmart stores, which make up less than 7% of all of the retail pharmacies in the United States,” Harmison added. “As NCPA reviews the Walmart plan, we intend on reading the fine print. For example, we want to ensure the plan adheres to Medicare’s marketing and plan guidelines. We also will learn more about how the plan may disadvantage other pharmacies and their patients and will respond accordingly.”

NCPA’s president charged that Walmart’s pharmacy customers have to put up with long waits and “assembly-line service,” particularly to take advantage of the retailer’s $4 generic drug offer. “By contrast, independent community pharmacies earned among the highest customer satisfaction scores of all pharmacies” in the most recent customer survey from J.D. Power and Associates, Harmison asserted. “That’s due in large part to the sterling customer service and competitive pricing that these local pharmacies offer.”

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CHPA approves of retail theft legislation’s passage

BY Michael Johnsen

WASHINGTON The Consumer Healthcare Products Association on Thursday announced its support behind the passage of H.R. 5932, the Organized Retail Theft Investigation and Prosecution Act, signaling that it “provides a good first step toward effectively addressing organized retail crime by establishing a dedicated office within the [U.S.] Department of Justice to work with state and local law enforcement.”

 

“On behalf of the leading manufacturers of over-the-counter medicines, CHPA continues to support efforts to stem organized retail theft,” the association added. “Theft of medicines poses a public health risk, as adulterated or contaminated medications can be introduced into the consumer market. We hope that the U.S. Senate will take up this important piece of legislation and look forward to working with the retail community, law enforcement and our elected officials to stop the problem of organized retail crime.”

 

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