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Calcium helps lower cancer risk in women, men

BY Drug Store News Team

CHICAGO A new survey shows that women who have a high intake of calcium have a lowered risk of cancer.

Dr Yikyung Park and his colleagues at the National Cancer Institute analyzed data from nearly 300,000 men and nearly 200,000 women, all of whom were participants in the National Institutes of Health-AARP Diet and Health Study. They filled in a food frequency questionnaire, recording their intake of dairy, and other, foods, as well as any consumption of food supplements. This data was linked to the national cancer registry records of new cases of cancer.

Men and women with high calcium intake have a reduced risk of certain types of digestive system cancers. It may be calcium itself, or other substances in calcium-rich dairy foods, which confer this protective effect.

Over an average of seven years follow up, there were 36,965 new cancer cases among the men and 16,605 among the women. In men, calcium intake was not linked to total cancer incidence. In women, incidence decreased with intakes of up to 1,300 milligrams per day. The men consuming the most calcium through food and supplements – up to 1,530 milligrams a day – had a 16 percent reduced risk of digestive cancer compared to those consuming the least calcium, at about 500 milligrams a day. For women, a similar effect was observed. The decrease in risk was most pronounced when it came to colorectal cancer. No effect of calcium was found for breast, prostate or any other kind of cancer except digestive.

The report was published in the Archives of Internal Medicine’s February issue.

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Obama may overturn Bush’s ‘conscience’ rules

BY Alaric DeArment

NEW YORK The Obama Administration may overturn the Bush Administration’s “conscience” rules that allow healthcare workers to invoke religious beliefs to deny certain services such as birth control, according to published reports.

The Los Angeles Times reported that Barack Obama may roll back the provisions, which allow pharmacists to refuse to prescribe birth control pills on account of personal religious beliefs. 

Seven states have also filed lawsuits to challenge the rule, the newspaper reported.

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Clear up patient medication guidelines, independent pharmacy group urges FDA

BY Jim Frederick

ALEXANDRIA, Va. The National Community Pharmacists Association wants the government to give patients a clearer, more concise set of guidelines on how to take their medications, the effects those drugs have and the risks and benefits they carry.

The independent pharmacy organization yesterday urged the Food and Drug Administration’s Risk Communication Advisory Committee to push for a change in the current system of overlapping instructions that go to patients along with their prescriptions. In testimony before the committee, NCPA asked the agency to develop criteria for a guidance that would describe “a single, patient-friendly, written prescription information sheet to eventually replace the multiple written documents that patients can currently receive from their pharmacists with a particular prescription.

Under current practices, those documents can include  Medication Guides, Patient Package Inserts [PPIs] and Consumer Medication Information [CMI]. Too often, said NCPA’s director of public policy, Tony Lee, patients discard the CMI and never read it — sometimes even throwing it away before they leave the pharmacy.

“While we recognize that the FDA has worked hard to try and improve these medication documents, the problem needs to be addressed in a fundamentally different way that combines useful written information with the personal relationships between the pharmacists and patients,” Lee told the FDA advisory panel.

“It is time for a comprehensive solution to this written prescription information issue,” added John Coster, NCPA’s senior VP of government affairs. “Any FDA effort to make CMI more useful for the patient should be accompanied by a broader assessment of the usefulness and purpose of the other information leaflets that pharmacist may be required to provide. We look forward to working with the agency and patient groups to meet this goal.”

Last summer, NCPA joined other pharmacy provider groups to file a “One Document” citizens’ petition with the FDA. The Risk Advisory Committee was convened specifically to address how to make CMI leaflets more useful for the patient, the group noted.

“These leaflets are voluntarily provided by the pharmacist, but the information contained in these leaflets often duplicates information in other written leaflets,” NCPA stated.

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