HEALTH

Abbott recalls specific Similac powder infant formulas

BY Michael Johnsen

ABBOTT PARK, Ill. Abbott on Wednesday initiated a proactive, voluntary recall of certain Similac powder infant formulas in the United States, Puerto Rico, Guam and some countries in the Caribbean following an internal quality review, which detected the remote possibility of the presence of a small common beetle in the product, produced in one production area in a single manufacturing facility.

"Abbott understands that parents expect to feed their children only the highest-quality product,” stated Holger Liepmann, EVP Abbott Nutrition. “We are taking this action so that parents know that the infant formula products they provide unquestionably meet the highest-quality standards for which they are known. We regret any inconvenience this situation poses to parents and consumers."

The Food and Drug Administration has determined that while the formula containing these beetles poses no immediate health risk, there is a possibility that infants who consume formula containing the beetles or their larvae, could experience symptoms of gastrointestinal discomfort and refusal to eat as a result of small insect parts irritating the GI tract. If these symptoms persist for more than a few days, a physician should be consulted.

 

To immediately find out if the product in your possession is included in this recall, parents and caregivers should visit Similac.com/recall, and type in their lot number to determine if their product is affected, or call (800) 986-8850.

 

 

No Abbott liquid infant formulas are impacted. Products not involved in the recall include all Abbott Nutrition liquid ready-to-feed and concentrated infant formulas, and all powder and liquid specialty formulas, such as Similac Expert Care Alimentum, Elecare, Similac Expert Care Neosure, Similac Human Milk Fortifier, and metabolic formulas for inherited disorders.

 

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Rite Aid adds mobile text alerts option for Rx reminders

BY Michael Johnsen

CAMP HILL, Pa. Rite Aid on Tuesday added automatic mobile text alerts to its opted-in contact options to notify patients when their prescriptions are ready, and for refill and pickup reminders. Patients now have the option to receive such messages by text, e-mail or automated phone call.

Customers who “opt in” to the pharmacy alerts system by signing up for the service online also can be notified if there are any issues encountered after they’ve dropped off their prescription.

“This new service greatly enhances our ability to communicate with our patients while using the communication methods they prefer,” stated Robert Thompson, Rite Aid EVP pharmacy. “In addition to convenience, these alerts also help our patients stay current with their prescriptions and improve patient compliance in taking medications as prescribed.”

To receive alerts, patients must have an online MyRiteAid.com account and complete the MyPharmacy online profile.

The addition of text messaging to Rite Aid’s pharmacy alerts program is powered by Sybase 365, the company noted. “According to the Sybase 365 Global Consumer Acceptance and Usage Report released earlier this year, the study found that consumers are looking for more from their phones, with 70% reporting interest in additional mobile services,” said Marty Beard, Sybase 365 president.

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NCPA to HHS: Pharmacists are allies in health-reform shift to preventive care

BY Jim Frederick

ALEXANDRIA, Va. The reformed U.S. healthcare system could unleash a surge in patient demand for preventive care services, and community pharmacists should be part of any plan to meet that demand, the independent pharmacy lobby told Obama administration health officials.

That message came from the National Community Pharmacists Association in comments recently submitted to the Department of Health and Human Services. The group urged the officials implementing the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act to make full use of community pharmacists in the nation’s increasing reliance on preventive care — particularly if the health-reform law encourages patients to take advantage of low-cost health-and-wellness services provided through federally funded programs.

The NCPA weighed in after HHS issued a proposed interim final rule on the implementation of the massive health-reform act. The agency is recommending that participating health plans and insurers waive patient co-pays for certain recommended preventive services and vaccines.

“Examples of preventative services commonly available at community pharmacies include blood pressure and cholesterol screening, tobacco cessation and obesity-related counseling and intervention,” the NCPA noted. “The HHS requirement would apply to private, nongrandfathered group health plans and health insurance issuers offering group or individual health insurance coverage through the health insurance exchanges scheduled to take effect in 2014.”

The independent pharmacy group is asking HHS to make two adjustments to its proposed rule. One, the NCPA told the agency, is to “modify the rule to allow patients to receive certain preventative services from any qualified provider [including community pharmacies] without incurring a co-payment.” The group also urged HHS to “actively promote a more collaborative approach to healthcare services by encouraging health plans to enlist the services of allied healthcare providers, such as pharmacists, to help provide community-based preventative care services to plan enrollees.”

An initial investment in preventative care services, the NCPA noted in its comments, “can reap many downstream benefits, including demonstrable improvement in patient care outcomes, a reduction in hospital re-admissions and ultimately savings due to lower healthcare costs.”

“Just as the practice of medicine has undergone a change in focus from treatment of disease states to preventative care, pharmacy has gone from an emphasis on medication dispensing to one of effective medication use and achieving optimal patient outcomes,” the group told HHS officials.

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