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The Journal Gazette

Wednesday, March 07, 2018 1:00 am


Insurer set to provide drug rebate

News services

The nation's biggest health insurer will pass drugmaker rebates along to some customers starting next year, giving a potential break to those taking expensive prescriptions.

UnitedHealthcare said Tuesday it will let people covered by certain employer-sponsored health plans collect rebates when they fill prescriptions or at the point of sale. Those rebates could amount to a few bucks or several hundred dollars, depending on the drug.

Drugmakers frequently give rebates for prescription drugs, but those discounts rarely flow directly to the people filling prescriptions. How these rebates are used has become a growing source of debate in recent years as the cost of some treatments has soared.

Dutch firm to unveil flying car this week

Robert Dingemanse, CEO of Dutch company PAL-V International B.V., is used to curious people whose only frame of reference for his firm's flying car comes from cartoons or movies.

But this week, Dingemanse's dream of letting commuters choose whether to drive or fly to work comes a significant step closer. He will unveil the first production model of the PAL-V Liberty, a three-wheeled, two-seat car and gyroplane rolled into one, at the Geneva motor show.

“Flying cars have been in movies many, many times, and they will be available next year,” Dingemanse said.

The PAL-V Liberty is one of several flying cars in development such as The Transition, a folding-wing two-seater being developed by U.S.-based Terrafugia and an all-electric vertical take-off and landing jet being developed by German startup Lilium.

General Mills makes organic farm deal

General Mills announced a deal Tuesday to create South Dakota's largest organic crop farm as the company works to secure enough organic ingredients to meet growing consumer demand worldwide.

Gunsmoke Farms will convert 34,000 acres near Pierre to organic by 2020, where it will grow organic wheat for General Mills' popular Annie's Macaroni & Cheese line.

General Mills, which is guaranteeing a market for the wheat, is working with Midwestern BioAg of Madison, Wisconsin, to develop the crop rotation and soil-building program needed for such a large farm to go organic.

General Mills like many other food companies, has ambitious environmental goals and has bought smaller brands and tweaked its products to appeal to consumers who want more organic and natural products.

Some McDonald's burgers to be fresh

McDonald's plans to introduce fresh beef burgers in all U.S. restaurants by early May, the fast-food chain's latest move aimed at drawing customers, boosting sales and propelling the business into the future.

Quarter Pounders and Signature Crafted burgers will be made with patties that are cooked upon ordering. All other burgers, including the Big Mac, will continue to be made with patties that are prepared in advance and then frozen.

The announcement follows 18 months of testing in order to refine the cooking process so it doesn't result in longer wait times for customers, said Chris Kempczinski, McDonald's USA president.

Fresh beef is already available in some 3,500 restaurants in various markets across the U.S.