News Briefs


General Mills continues Marvel collaboration with superhero-inspired fruit snacks

general mills marvel

General Mills is continuing its multi-year collaboration with Marvel by releasing two fruit-flavored snacks.

Inspired by its superhero characters, new launches consumers can be on the lookout for include:

  • Marvel Avengers Character Fruit Snacks: Gummy treats made without artificial flavors, featured characters include Black Panther, Iron Man and Thor; and
  • Black Panther Fruit Roll-Ups: Available in strawberry sensation and blue raspberry flavors, each features Black Panther tongue tattoos on each roll.

Consumers can find the Marvel Avengers Character Fruit Snacks and Black Panther Fruit Roll-Ups at retailers nationwide.


Hostess puts holiday-inspired twist on classic snacks

hostess holiday snacks

Just in time for the upcoming holiday season, Hostess Brands is putting a seasonal twist on four of its classic and iconic snacks.

New launches from the brand include Holiday HoHos, Holiday CupCakes, Mint Chocolate Flavored Twinkies and Hot Cocoa & Marshmallow Flavored Donettes.

“With the holiday season right around the corner, consumers are anticipating the return of special flavors that capture the joy, delight and traditions of the season,” said Christopher Balach, general manager of Hostess Brands. “From the classic chocolate sponge cake and refreshing mint flavor of our Mint Chocolate Flavored Twinkies to the rich and creamy hot chocolate flavor of our Hot Cocoa & Marshmallow Flavored Donettes, we think consumers will love our holiday snacks.”

Each of Hostess’ seasonal snacks will be available for a limited time in a multi-pack at grocery retailers nationwide.  


PQS launches next-generation EQUIPP platform


Pharmacy Quality Solutions is releasing the next-generation EQUIPP platform, which enables pharmacy-based patient care for nearly 95% of pharmacies across the country.

The redesigned EQUIPP facilitates pharmacies’ efforts to guide performance improvement.

The re-architected EQUIPP platform now provides a better user experience and makes it even easier for pharmacists to guide medication-related performance improvement. It also allows PQS to expand clinical service opportunities for pharmacies, the company said. 

“EQUIPP was rebuilt from the ground up to make it straightforward for our users to deliver quality performance,” said PQS chief operating officer Nancy Chung. “We listened to our partners and made the platform easier to navigate, so data could be accessed quickly and displayed in a way that can be clearly understood by our users."

New EQUIPP highlights include:

  • New patient-centered view: users can see patients with multiple measures in one view;
  • All patients are listed for each measure, not just outliers, so pharmacists can identify patients before they negatively impact performance;
  • Easier ways to prioritize patient opportunities, filter and customize the dashboard;
  • Streamlined intervention coordination: ability to print, document, and coordinate care; and
  • Access EQUIPP your way via desktop, tablet, or phone.

“As a neutral intermediary who supports the evolution towards value-based care, we align payers and providers to enhance quality and improve outcomes for their shared patients,” said PQS CEO Todd Sega. “When we redesigned EQUIPP, we utilized a more flexible architecture that has allowed us to create more pay-for-performance and value-based programs to help our partners close gaps in patient care, deliver enhanced services, and prepare for the shifting role of pharmacies as healthcare destinations.”




Gilead obtains FDA OK for new indication for Vemlidy

FDA approval stamp

Gilead Sciences has received the Food and Drug Administration’s green light for Vemlidy (tenofovir alafenamide) 25 mg tablets as a once-daily treatment for chronic hepatitis B virus infection in pediatric patients aged 12 years old and older with compensated liver disease.

Vemlidy is a novel, targeted prodrug of tenofovir that was previously approved by the FDA in 2016 as a once-daily treatment for adults with chronic HBV infection with compensated liver disease. It is recommended as a preferred or first-line treatment for adults with chronic HBV with compensated liver disease in guidelines from the American Association for the Study of Liver Diseases and European Association for the Study of the Liver.

“Chronic hepatitis B can have a significant long-term health impact on children, including the development of liver cancer later in life if the disease is left untreated, which is compounded by treatment challenges in this population,” said Kathleen Schwarz, pediatric gastroenterologist at Rady Children’s Hospital-San Diego, an investigator in the Vemlidy clinical trial. “As a clinician, I recognize the critical importance of treating this disease as quickly as possible to help avoid complications and potential damage to the liver. In the clinical trial, we saw that tenofovir alafenamide may represent an effective treatment option for people as young as 12 years of age living with this chronic disease.”

“While pediatric hepatitis B prevalence has dropped significantly in the U.S., children who develop chronic hepatitis B following an acute infection can experience lifelong health impact,” Merdad Parsey, chief medical officer at Gilead Sciences, said. “Gilead is focused on meeting the biggest challenges in liver disease and impacting the course of disease. With an established safety profile and once-daily dosing, Vemlidy provides physicians a new option to address the treatment needs of pediatric patients living with hepatitis B.”


Blue Diamond readies for holidays with snickerdoodle, peppermint cocoa almonds

blue diamond holiday almonds

Blue Diamond is quickly ushering in the holiday season with not one but two limited-edition flavors — snickerdoodle and peppermint cocoa.

The snickerdoodle-flavored almonds feature a sweet cinnamon sugar seasoning, while the peppermint cocoa-flavored almonds contain a chocolatey flavor and a hint of peppermint.

“If Blue Diamond had a holiday wish, it’s that everyone would make our naughty and nice list," said Maya Erwin, vice president of innovation and R&D at Blue Diamond. "We are jumping into the holiday fun and festivities with two flavors that perfectly encompass the seasonality and spirit of indulgence while retaining the nutrition benefits that almond lovers appreciate.”

Consumers can find Blue Diamond’s limited-edition almond flavors available for purchase through December at major retailers nationwide and online.


Loblaw eliminating single-use plastic shopping bags

loblaw doordash teaser

Loblaw is no longer offering single-use plastic shopping bags at its stores across Canada’s Northwest Territories.

“We are a purpose-led organization, with a goal to help Canadians live life well.  Our commitment to reduce our carbon footprint is an important part of that,” said Robert Sawyer, chief operating officer at Loblaw Companies Limited. “Our efforts to remove single-use plastic bags from our stores have already resulted in 13 billion fewer bags going to landfill. But we know there's more work to be done.  Today’s announcement represents our continued commitment to protecting our environment across the region and beyond.”

The company is encouraging shoppers to bring their own bags to stores but also offering a variety of reusable alternatives at checkout lanes.