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Amazon expands its distribution network in Ohio

BY Deena M. Amato-McCoy

Amazon is opening a new fulfillment center in the Buckeye state.

The online giant is preparing to open a new 855,000 sq. ft. facility in Ohio, its sixth in the state. Amazon currently operates distribution centers in the cities of Etna and Obetz. It is also preparing to launch operations in North Randall and Monroe by the end of 2018, and its Euclid warehouse is set to open in 2019.

Amazon’s newest facility will create 1,500 jobs, and associates will be tasked with picking, packing and shipping electronics, books, housewares and toys.

The company has created more than 6,000 full-time jobs in Ohio, and invested over $2 billion in the state since 2011, both in customer fulfillment infrastructure and compensation to its employees in the state, according to the company.

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CVS applauds President Trump’s campaign to slash drug prices

BY Deena M. Amato-McCoy

President Donald Trump has the support of CVS Health when it comes to slashing drug prices.

On Friday, President Trump proposed an aggressive campaign to cut prescription drug prices for patients — a campaign promise he had yet to address until now. Under the new plan, called American Patients First, rules preventing government health programs from securing deeper discounts on drug prices would be lifted. In addition, the United States would push other developed countries with tighter price controls to pay more for medicines, and new incentives would induce drugmakers to lower list prices and prevent them from gaming the system to extend their monopolies, according to Bloomberg.

CVS is bullish on the plan, which dovetails within its own efforts to lower the cost of drugs for its customers.

“At CVS Health, we see every day the impact rising drug costs have on our patients. That’s why we have developed and supported innovative solutions to lower health care costs, and we look forward to partnering with leaders to continue to do so. We commend the Trump Administration’s focus on reducing the cost of prescription drugs, and we agree more can and needs to be done,” according to the company.

The company also does not expect policy solutions that lower drug prices for consumers and reduce out-of-pocket costs to have a negative impact on profitability, according to the CVS.

The drugstore retailer added that it is already well-positioned to implement many of the key proposals outlined by President Trump’s administration. For example, CVS provides universal availability of rebates at the point-of-sale as to help customers save on out-of-pocket costs.

The pharmacy retailer also provides patients with information on what they will pay out-of-pocket under their insurance plan, and also suggests less expensive therapeutic alternatives. By sharing this information through its e-prescribing system, CVS can evaluate individual prescription savings opportunities in real-time, saving patients up to $75 per prescription, according to the company.

“We believe this approach leads to greater transparency in drug prices, and unquestionably demonstrates the true cause of rising drug costs for consumers: high list prices set by pharmaceutical manufacturers,” CVS added.

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NRF: Proposed tariffs will be ‘counterproductive’

BY Deena M. Amato-McCoy

A coalition comprised of the National Retail Federation and other associations is urging President Donald Trump’s administration to rethink its proposed import tariffs.

The NRF, along with more than 100 other associations representing U.S. retailers, manufacturers, farmers, agribusinesses, technology companies and other supply chain stakeholders submitted comments on Friday to U.S. Trade Representative (USTR) Robert Lighthizer. These thoughts outlined how the administration’s proposed tariffs on $50 billion worth of Chinese imports would harm the U.S. economy.

In March, President Trump announced that the United States will impose tariffs on approximately $50 billion worth of Chinese imports and take other actions in response to China’s policies that coerce American companies into transferring their technology and intellectual property to domestic Chinese enterprises. However, the administration’s proposed tariffs, coupled with retaliation promised by China, would reduce U.S. gross domestic product by nearly $3 billion, and destroy 134,000 American jobs, according to a study by the NRF and the Consumer Technology Association.

As a result, the associations are urging the administration to instead develop a comprehensive strategy to effectively address China’s unfair trade practices by aligning with Congress and like-minded trading partners.

“The proposed tariff list and escalating tariff threats made by the administration will not effectively advance our shared goal of changing these harmful Chinese practices in a durable, verifiable and enforceable manner,” the coalition’s letter stated. “Only through extensive collaboration and alignment can the administration develop and execute a strategic policy to effectively address our shared issues of critical concern in China.”

The group also proposed that the tariffs will be “counterproductive and undermine your efforts to change China’s policies and practices. There is no way to scope tariffs such that they would not impose direct and indirect costs on U.S. imports, inputs and exports in a way that strains the global supply chain and drives prices up,” according to the letter.

While the administration created the tariff to create leverage to change the direction of the Chinese economy, “that provides little comfort to those businesses, farms and workers whose livelihoods are being put at risk,” the coalition said.

USTR is scheduled to hold hearings next week to consider input from industries impacted by the proposed tariffs.

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