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CVS Caremark closes specialty pharmacy operations in Rockville, Md.

BY Antoinette Alexander

WOONSOCKET, R.I. CVS Caremark has confirmed that it is closing its specialty pharmacy operations in Rockville, Md., on March 26, 2010; a move that will impact nearly 100 employees.

“We continually review all operational strategies in each market and this decision was made after careful consideration,” said Christine Cramer, director of public relations at CVS Caremark.

According to the company, the human resources team will be working with affected employees to place them in other positions for which they are qualified within the company. Employees that are not placed will get a transition package that includes financial and health benefit support and outplacement services.

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Industry coalition reissues advisory against use of dietary supplements as swine flu remedy, cure

BY Michael Johnsen

WASHINGTON The trade associations of the dietary supplement industry on Monday reiterated its criticism for those companies or individuals promoting any dietary supplement as a treatment or cure for the novel H1N1 influenza virus.

According to federal statutes, no dietary supplement can be promoted to cure, prevent or mitigate any disease. What’s more, the associations noted, there are no scientific data currently published that would suggest any supplement would work in curing or preventing the H1N1 flu.

To date, as many as 147 warning letters have been issued by the Food and Drug Administration and the Federal Trade Commission since May to companies marketing products — from air filters and face masks to shampoos and supplements — for prevention or cure of H1N1 flu. The American Herbal Products Association, the Consumer Healthcare Products Association, the Council for Responsible Nutrition, the Natural Products Association and the United Natural Products Alliance are therefore re-releasing the following unified advisory for marketers and retailers, as well as for consumers of dietary supplements:

Marketers and retailers of dietary supplements are urged to refuse to stock or sell any supplements that are presented as treating or curing H1N1. In addition, marketers and retailers should refrain from promoting any dietary supplement as a cure or treatment for H1N1.

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PricewaterhouseCoopers: Personalized medicine market to grow 11% annually

BY Allison Cerra

NEW YORK Personalized medicine, which targets individualized treatment and care based on personal and genetic variation, is creating a booming market, but is a disruptive innovation that will create both opportunities and challenges for traditional health care and emerging market participants, according to a new report published by PricewaterhouseCoopers.

The report, The Science of Personalized Medicine: Translating the Promise into Practice, projects that the market for a more personalized approach to health and wellness will grow to as much as $452 billion by 2015. PricewaterhouseCoopers’ estimates are based on a broad view of the market opportunity beyond drugs and devices to also include demand for high-tech storage and data-sharing as well as low-tech products and services aimed at consumers’ heightened awareness of their own health risks.

“Medical science and technological advancement have converged with the growing emphasis on health, wellness and prevention sweeping the country to push personalized medicine to a tipping point,” said David M. Levy, M.D., global healthcare leader, PricewaterhouseCoopers. “We are now seeing a blurring of the lines between traditional healthcare offerings and consumer-oriented wellness products and services. The market potential is enormous for any company that learns to leverage the science, target individuals and develop products and services that promote health.”

The promise of personalized medicine has been predicated upon genomic testing, which enables physicians to identify an individual’s susceptibility to disease, predict how a given patient will respond to a particular drug, eliminate unnecessary treatments, reduce the incidence of adverse reactions to drugs, increase the efficacy of treatments and, ultimately, improve health outcomes.

“There is an urgent need to increase the value of health care, but we can’t get there by fixing the health care of yesterday. We need to replace our current focus on treating disease with a better approach that is personalized, preventive, predictive and participatory, the basic tenants of personalized medicine,” said Gerald McDougall, principal in charge of personalized medicine and health sciences, PricewaterhouseCoopers. “Greater collaboration around personalized medicine should be a key strategy for health reform.”

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