PHARMACY

Community colleges add pharmacy tech courses

BY Michael Johnsen

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. Pharmacy technician courses are being added to the curriculums of community colleges. Lincoln Land Community College located here last week announced a partnership with MRxI Corporation to launch a program aimed at addressing a shortage of pharmacy technicians while giving potential future pharmacists a taste of the healthcare profession.

The 75-hour pharmacy technician course is designed to teach students the fundamentals and particulars of being a pharmacy technician. Healthcare workers wanting to enhance their knowledge of prescription drugs, students interested in being a pharmacy technician and future pharmacists can benefit from the program, which includes training in pharmacy math, generics, pharmacy law and interpreting prescriptions.

The class also introduces students to various pharmacy practice settings and covers drug classes and interactions, daily pharmacy operations and basic physiology. Upon completion of this course, students will be efficient in completing daily tasks performed in a pharmacy setting and be prepared for entry-level pharmacy positions.

On average, starting pay for pharmacy technicians is about $10 to $15 an hour, the college stated, however certified technicians can earn 20 to 30 percent more. Chain retail pharmacies, hospitals and home health care pharmacies typically employ pharmacy technicians.

To enroll in the course, students will need to have a high school diploma or GED. Cost of the course is $975 and includes textbooks.

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New York joins state lawsuits over Vioxx

BY Drew Buono

NEW YORK New York has become the seventh state to file a lawsuit against Merck over its controversial painkiller Vioxx, according to a Financial Times article on MSNBC.com.

The state is alleging that the company misrepresented dangers associated with the drug and are therefore looking to recover public funds spent on prescriptions. The lawsuit is the first to be filed under the new state law, which allows damages to be rewarded of up to three times the sum spent by a state, which according to New York is more than $100 million.

“Even as evidence was piling up showing just how dangerous this drug was, Merck put profits above all else and put thousands at risk by continuing to push Vioxx inappropriately on doctors and patients,” said Attorney General Andrew Cuomo.

Recently, the New Jersey Supreme Court denied a lawsuit brought about by insurance and healthcare companies against Merck concerning Vioxx.

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Rendell selects Rite Aid as site for CHIP information in Pa.

BY Michael Johnsen

HARRISBURG, Pa. Pennsylvania Gov. Edward Rendell on Tuesday chose Rite Aid to be the conduit for information on the state’s Children’s Health Insurance Program—Rite Aid stores throughout south central Pennsylvania will host registration booths Sept. 27 from 2 p.m. to 6 p.m.

“We’re working hard to make sure every parent understands that no family earns too much for their children to be covered by CHIP,” Rendell stated. “Through Cover All Kids, CHIP is now available to thousands of uninsured children whose parents who may have earned too much to qualify for coverage under the old guidelines.”

Under the new guidelines, some families qualify for free CHIP coverage while others may receive coverage at a low cost based on family income. CHIP enrollment increased to 164,485 in September, a growth of more than 11 percent since September 2006. More than 4,200 children who are now in CHIP would not have previously been eligible.

Participating Rite Aid Store locations include: 4299 Union Deposit Rd., Harrisburg; 2604 Linglestown Rd., Harrisburg; 3601 Walnut St., Harrisburg; 1137 Market St., Lemoyne; 5277 Simpson Ferry Rd., Mechanicsburg; 40-42 West Market St., York; 3615 East Market St., York (Springettsbury); 115 Leader Heights Rd., York; 4135 North George St. Extension, York (Manchester); 1200 West Market St., York; 59 North Queen St., Lancaster; 1130 Cumberland St., Lebanon.

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