HEALTH

Abbott debuts EAS Peak

BY Michael Johnsen

ABBOTT PARK, Ill. Abbott on Monday announced the introduction of EAS Peak, a sports nutrition performance beverage that contains the company’s P3 technology, formulations that help sustain energy, increase workout capacity and protect muscles from breakdown. The P3 technology is a proprietary blend of beta-alanine, isomaltulose and HMB (beta-hydroxy-beta-methylbutyrate).

 

“Muscle fatigue and breakdown occurs with exercise – the harder you work out the more your muscles are affected,” noted Keith Wheeler, divisional VP performance nutrition research, development and scientific affairs at Abbott. “Leveraging years of nutrition science and experience with ingredients such as HMB, we’ve brought together a blend in the P3 technology that can help deliver extended energy, delayed muscle fatigue and reduced muscle breakdown. Using EAS Peak before a workout can help athletes prepare for, perform during and recover following a workout or competition.”

 

 

EAS Peak also is a source of high-quality protein (10g per serving). The ready-to-drink beverage contains 25 g carbohydrates (15 g isomaltulose), 150 calories and less than 1 g fat to provide energy and help support lean muscle recovery and replenishment following physical activity. The 16-oz., caffeine-free beverage is available in orange spark, peach surge and fruit power flavors.

 

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Walgreens positions itself as a go-to for pertussis concerns

BY Antoinette Alexander

WHAT IT MEANS AND WHY IT’S IMPORTANT The heartbreaking news is that California is battling an unnerving whooping cough epidemic that unfortunately already has claimed the lives of nine babies. But the silver lining — if there is one — lies in the fact that this gives rise to another opportunity for retail pharmacy to demonstrate the critical role it plays in public health crisis management.

(THE NEWS: Calif. health officials address ‘whooping cough’ outbreak. For the full story, click here)

As state health officials are urging Californians to be immunized in hopes of stemming the pertussis outbreak that is sweeping throughout the state, more than 4,000 cases have been reported — nine deaths have been reported of which eight were Hispanic infants. Eight fatalities were infants less than 2 months of age at the time of the disease’s onset and had not received any doses of pertussis-containing vaccine; the ninth was 2 months of age and had received the first dose of DTaP only 15 days prior to the disease onset, according to the California Department of Public Health. Most of the infant cases in 2010 have occurred in infants younger than 3 months of age. Meanwhile, the majority of adolescent cases are in 10- to 11-year-olds.

Because children are most vulnerable to this highly contagious disease, health officials are urging anyone who is in contact with children to be immunized, and for those children of proper age to be immunized.

As we’ve seen with regard to the seasonal flu, H1N1 and other public health concerns, retail pharmacies are in an ideal position to assist in such matters given their convenient locations and hours of operation. This fact once again is evident, as Walgreens has announced that its pharmacists in select California stores can administer whooping cough vaccines.

Currently, 150 Walgreens locations are offering the vaccine, but the retailer has 575 stores throughout the state and will be working to add more stores to the list. As of 2009, the number of pharmacy outlets in California stood at 1,957 independents, 2,174 traditional chains, 645 supermarkets and 557 mass merchandisers, according to the National Association of Chain Drug Stores.

Once again, retail pharmacy is positioning itself along the frontlines of health care.

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NACDS urging flexible health IT approach as HHS works to adjust patient records law

BY Jim Frederick

WHAT IT MEANS AND WHY IT’S IMPORTANT Shifting the nation’s sprawling and disconnected healthcare system to an integrated platform, based at last on health information technology and electronic health records, is a worthy and overdue undertaking. But striking the right balance between opening the spigot of patient information to streamline care and improve decision-making by health professionals, while protecting patient privacy, is a challenge that both health professionals and government policy-makers have been grappling with since the advent of computers in physicians’ offices and pharmacies.

(THE NEWS: White House continues health IT drive as CMS offers matching funds to states. For the full story, click here)

There’s no disputing the value health IT and EHRs can bring to this nation’s fractured and sometimes irrational system of health care. A fully integrated network that exchanges patient records among health professionals would revolutionize the whole system, knocking down silos and linking up the doctors, labs, pharmacies, nursing groups and health plans that all play a key role in a patient’s health and wellbeing, and getting them finally to talk to one another. The result could be a dramatic reduction in costs for needless and redundant tests, double-filled prescriptions, drug interactions and non-adherence. It would mean a smarter and far more cost-effective network for improving patient outcomes and rationalizing the decisions made by health stakeholders in patients’ care regimens.

Understandably, the federal health officials charged with driving the health IT revolution are moving cautiously, even as they continue to open the stimulus funding spigot for adoption of EHRs to more states.

Their goal: to avoid compromising the privacy of patients’ health records in the conversion to electronic recordkeeping and transmission of patient data. But privacy concerns, argue pharmacy advocates, needn’t block the necessary flow of protected patient data that must occur if a more integrated and rational health care system is to become more than just an elusive and always out-of-reach pipe dream.

On Monday, the National Association of Chain Drug Stores took another stab at the issue, with a written plea to Secretary of Health and Human Services Kathleen Sebelius. Essentially, NACDS is asking the White House to maintain a flexible and workable approach as it uses its stimulus funds and regulatory powers to usher in the electronic health revolution.

That means, NACDS told Sebelius, that the government shouldn’t impose on pharmacies and physicians a requirement that they obtain prior authorization from patients for the use and transmission of protected health records.

NACDS is on solid ground here. Two major considerations support their plea to HHS: one, the privacy of patient data is already amply protected by the privacy statutes embodied in the Health Information Portability and Accountability Act of 1996, or HIPAA. Two, the imposition of disclosure requirements and “opt-in, opt-out” prior-authorization rules on every patient exchange with a doctor or pharmacist could create enough confusion and bottlenecks to ground the nation’s critically important transformation to health IT to a halt.

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