PHARMACY

CDC: Tdap vaccinations in pregnant women up 50% since 2009

BY David Salazar

A recent Morbidity and Mortality Weekly report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention showcases an increase in the number of pregnant women who opt to receive a tetanus toxoid, reduced diphtheria toxoid and acellular pertussis, or Tdap, vaccine.

The report highlights research from Boston University’s Slone Epidemiology Center found that in 2015, 51% of pregnant women in the control group of its Birth Defects Study received the Tdap vaccination — up from less than 1% who had done so before 2009. It noted that Tdap vaccination during pregnancy went from 5% in 2010 to 9% in 2012, with the 2012 number tripling to 28% in in 2013.

“Although approximately half of mothers who gave birth to control infants in the most recent year of the study received Tdap during pregnancy, this proportion remains far below the ACIP recommendation that all pregnant women be vaccinated during each pregnancy,” the report said. “Newborns at highest risk for pertussis-associated complications are too young to be vaccinated, but Tdap vaccination during pregnancy can reduce the potential for morbidity (9) and mortality in this vulnerable population.”

The study also highlighted the possibility to pharmacy to play more of a role in administering Tdap vaccines. According to the research, 96% of the Tdap vaccines were administered in a traditional healthcare setting, while 1% were given in the pharmacy/supermarket setting, with the remaining 3% receiving the vaccine in work or school settings, or government settings.

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PHARMACY

Research finds flu shot lowers hospitalization risk for children

BY David Salazar

Canadian organization Public Health Ontario and the Institute for Clinical Evaluative Sciences have published new research underscoring the ability of the flu vaccine to reduce hospitalization risk in children. The study found that fully vaccinated children’s risk of flu-related hospitalization decrease 60% and that partially vaccinated children’s risk decreasing 39%.

“Influenza can cause serious illness, especially in young children, but there hasn’t been a lot of research that has examined the magnitude of the influenza vaccine’s effectiveness at preventing kids from getting really sick and being hospitalized,” said Public Health Ontario applied immunization research and evalition scientist and ICES senior scientist Jeff Kwong, who is the senior author of the paper published in the Nov. 17 issue of PLOS ONE.

“This research paper helps fill that gap by showing how effective the influenza vaccine can be at protecting young kids against serious complications from influenza infections,” Kwong said.

Public Health Ontario said researchers looked at almost 10,000 hospital records over four flu seasons in the province for children between ages 6 months to under 5 years who had a respiratory specimen tested for the flu. The researchers compared variations in flu diagnoses by age group and flu strain. Children ages 2 to 4 years who were fully vaccinated saw their risk drop 67%, with children ages 6 to 23 months seeing their risk decrease 48%.

“These results show that flu vaccines are effective at preventing influenza hospitalizations in young kids, and this extended to those who received their vaccination in two consecutive seasons. This contributes to the evidence that this group should be receiving their seasonal vaccine annually to prevent such serious outcomes,” study lead author Sarah Buchan said.
 

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AmerisourceBergen to acquire H.D. Smith

BY David Salazar

AmerisourceBergen will be acquiring H.D. Smith. The Valley Forge, Pa.-based company will be paying $815 million in cash for the company, which is currently the United States’ largest independent wholesaler.

The Springfield, Ill.-based H.D. Smith has been in business since 1954, and currently operates 10 distribution centers across the country, which provide full-line distribution of branded, generic and specialty drugs, the companies said. H.D. Smith’s customers include retail pharmacies, specialty pharmacies, long-term care facilities, hospital systems and independent doctors and clinics.

“The acquisition of H. D. Smith — a best-in-class private distributor with facilities across the country and a diversified customer base – strengthens our core business and expands and enhances our strategic scale in U.S. pharmaceutical distribution,” AmerisourceBergen chairman and CEO Steve Collis said. “This acquisition also builds upon our foundation and meaningfully expands our support for independent community pharmacies.”

AmerisourceBergen group president of pharmaceutical distribution and strategic global sourcing Bob Mauch told Drug Store News that H.D. Smith’s work with community pharmacies meshes well with the services AmerisourceBergen has been providing through its Good Neighbor Pharmacy independent pharmacy network and its pharmacy services administrative organization Elevate Provider Network.

“They are completely aligned with us in terms of their focus on community care, and they have a keen focus on community pharmacy and independent community pharmacy that they’ve had for a long time,” Mauch said. “We’re committed to being differentiated in the marketplace around customer experience so our customers can focus on their patients and their business, … and H.D. Smith shares that very same philosophy. In fact, we expect we'll learn some things from them as well, which we're very excited about.”

AmerisourceBergen noted that H.D. Smith’s subsidiaries — pharmaceutical brand support provider Triplefin and its PSAO Arete Pharmacy Network were not included in the acquisition.

“Our ultimate priority and commitment has been, and continues to be, the needs of our customers and trading partners,” H.D. Smith chairman and CEO Dale Smith said. “We believe AmerisourceBergen will continue the strong foundation set by my father. In joining AmerisourceBergen, we are confident our mission will continue, and remain a point of pride for the H. D. Smith family and its enduring legacy.”

AmerisourceBergen said that acquiring H.D. Smith would slightly increase the company’s earnings per share in fiscal year 2018, noting that it now expects revenue growth of 8% to 11%, adjusted operating income growth to be 4% to 7% and pharmaceutical distribution services operating income growth of 4% to 8%. Beyond the financial impact, Mauch said that the combination of the companies was a way to expand AmerisourceBergen’s efforts to support healthcare within communities through customer service, which include a revamping of its distribution network from both a physical and IT perspective.

“We’re continuing in a direction that's very focused on community providers in general for AmerisourceBergen," Mauch said. “The investments that you see — whether it's the distribution network and IT or GNP and Elevate, I think acquiring H.D. Smith is another step in that direction in terms of us being able to bring some of those services and resources to the independent pharmacy community.”

The company said it expects the deal to close in early 2018.

 

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