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AARP/Walgreens Wellness Tour heads to City of Brotherly Love

BY Allison Cerra

DEERFIELD, Ill. — The AARP/Walgreens Wellness Tour is making its way to Philadelphia next week.

The tour, which seeks to administer $14 million of free health tests nationally, will arrive at the Salvation Army Kroc Center of Philadelphia on May 19 and will offer free screenings from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Tests offered include total cholesterol levels, blood pressure, bone density, glucose levels, waist circumference and body mass index for adults ages 18 years and older, with no appointment necessary.

According to a recent AARP member survey, more than 68% of members surveyed in Pennsylvania said that paying for healthcare expenses is a top healthcare concern. Preventive health screenings are a critical method for detecting potential diseases before symptoms are noticed, AARP and Walgreens said.

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Backing Congress to encourage generic drug use could boost health savings

BY Alaric DeArment

WHAT IT MEANS AND WHY IT’S IMPORTANT — The Generic Pharmaceutical Association and other trade and patient advocacy groups can push generic drug usage as a way to save on medical costs, but throwing the weight of Congress behind generics gives them a bigger boost than ever.

(THE NEWS: GPhA expresses support of Congressional Affordable Medicines Caucus. For the full story, click here)

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services anticipated that by 2019, healthcare costs will account for 19.3% of the country’s GDP. In 2009, according to CMS, health expenditures were $2.5 trillion, including $246 billion spent on prescription drugs, with a projected annual growth rate in drug spending of 6.3% through 2019.

Even a small increase in generic pharmaceutical use could reduce those expenditures by billions of dollars. And although it will be some time before regulations for follow-on biologics emerge, the new regulatory approval pathway for them provided under healthcare reform will open opportunities for further savings in the years to come.

Amid the loud and strident debate over healthcare reform and health spending, it’s often forgotten that generics represent one of the easiest and most accessible ways for the healthcare system to save money. One can hope that a voice for generics on Capitol Hill will help members of Congress and the public realize that cutting healthcare costs without hurting patients is easier than it seems.

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Duane Reade’s charitable arm announces new donation record for AIDS Walk New York

BY Antoinette Alexander

NEW YORK — New York-based Duane Reade announced on Friday that the Duane Reade Charitable Foundation has set a new fundraising record for the 26th annual AIDS Walk New York as a presenting sponsor of the event.

AWNY raises funds for Gay Men’s Health Crisis and 41 other local AIDS service organizations that provide food, housing, medical care and more to people living with HIV/AIDS, as well as prevention work that reached hundreds of thousands throughout the tri-state area. This year’s 10-kilometer (6.2 mile) AWNY is expected to attract more than 45,000 participants and will be held in New York’s Central Park on May 15.

As part of its partnership with AWNY, Duane Reade sold $1 paper red-ribbon pinups in its stores between April 3 and May 15. The drug store chain also offered Look Boutique beauty product giveaways, bake sales and other initiatives to drive additional support. With the support of the New York community, combined with a donation from the Duane Reade Charitable Foundation, Duane Reade donated $400,000 to AWNY, thereby setting a new fundraising record.

To celebrate this year’s walk, Chuck Newsom, SVP store operations for Duane Reade, rang the closing bell at the New York Stock Exchange on May 10.

Since its inception, AWNY has raised more than $116 million to fight AIDS in the tri-state area, and the AIDS Walk movement has raised more than one half-billion dollars nationwide. In addition to its monetary donation, Duane Reade also is donating bottled water that will be distributed to participants along the walk route on the day of the race.

The Duane Reade Charitable Foundation was formed in March 2007 and is committed to supporting charitable organizations that promote health and wellness in New York’s communities. A portion of the charity’s budget also is reserved to support programs that address local community needs.

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