PHARMACY

CVS Health offers hepatitis A vaccine amid Florida county uptick

BY David Salazar

WOONSOCKET, R.I. — As Florida’s Broward County sees an uptick in hepatitis A cases, CVS Health is encouraging patients in the area to get vaccinated. So far this year, the county has seen 34 cases of hepatitis A — an increase over the typical seven cases annually, according to the Florida Department of Health.

CVS Health said its 10 MinuteClinic locations in Broward County are stocked with the hepatitis A vaccine, and the vaccine is available at its 76 CVS Pharmacy locations in the county on a walk-in basis.

"Immunizations are an important part of preventive care and a critical way to prevent the spread of serious illness, like Hepatitis A," MinuteClinic chief medical officer Dr. Tobias Barker said. "Our MinuteClinic nurse practitioners and CVS Pharmacy pharmacists are able to provide vaccinations to Floridians who may have been exposed to the virus or who are unaware of their vaccination status. They can also help ensure that patients stay up to date on vaccinations in the future."

The vaccine can offer protection against the illness if given within two weeks of exposure. Those who have had hepatitis A before or have previously received two doses of the hepatitis A vaccine don’t need to be immunized again, the company said. At MinuteClinic, patients ages 18 months and older, while CVS pharmacists can administer it to adults ages 18 years and older.

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AstraZeneca gets FDA nod for Calquence

BY David Salazar

SILVER SPRING, Md. — The Food and Drug Administration has approved a new lymphoma treatment from AstraZeneca. The company announced this week that its Calquence (acalabrutinib) had been approved to treat patients with mantle cell lymphoma in patients who have received at least one prior therapy.

Mantle cell lymphoma makes up 3-in-10 new non-Hodgkin lymphoma diagnoses in the United States, according to the National Cancer Institute. The drug works by blocking an enzyme that cancer needs to multiply and spread, the FDA said. The regulatory agency approved the drug under its accelerated approval pathway based on its overall response rate, AstraZeneca said.

“The accelerated approval of Calquence is a landmark moment for our company,” AstraZeneca CEO Pascal Soriot said. “It provides an exciting new treatment option for patients with mantle cell lymphoma and marks the first approval of a medicine that will be the cornerstone of our presence in hematology. Furthermore, today's approval demonstrates our commitment to scientific leadership in Oncology and reinforces our progress towards returning to growth.”

Calquence is set to be dispensed by a limited group of specialty pharmacies, which include Diplomat Pharmacy and Avella Specialty Pharmacy

“Calquence is a needed alternative to treat a life-threatening blood cancer for patients who might not be responding to therapy or whose cancer has relapsed,” Diplomat president Joel Saban said.

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CVS Pharmacy offers free Houston health screenings

BY David Salazar

HOUSTON — CVS Health is bringing its annual Project Health screenings in an effort to continue to support the Houston area as it recovers from Hurricane Harvey. The screenings, to be held Nov. 2 through Feb. 18 in select locations in the greater Houston area, were originally slated to take place in September, but was postponed in the aftermath of the hurricane.

"Even as the residents of Houston have begun to recover and rebuild their lives following Hurricane Harvey, we know the impact this type of stress can place on a person's health and wellness," CVS Pharmacy area vice president Jeff Schmidt said. "Our free health screenings can help identify health concerns or other risk factors for participants who may not have access to care otherwise, as well as provide referrals to local doctors and information on low-cost health insurance options."

The walk-in screenings will include such comprehensive health assessments as blood pressure, body mass index, glucose and total cholesterol screenings, the company said. Bilingual nurse practitioners or physician assistants will be on hand to analyze results and refer patients to their primary care physician or no- and low-cost medical facilities.

To encourage participation, CVS Health said it is working with the YMCA in Houston to drum up patients.

“Health screenings are the first step in recognizing opportunities for improving one's health," YMCA of Greater Houston association director of community health Lharissa Jacobs said. "Screenings, like those provided at Project Health, provide people with valuable information to make important decisions in reclaiming their health for the long run, and the Y is so pleased to encourage people to live their healthiest life."

CVS Health said the Houston screenings are part of Project Health efforts in 10 cities that will host 450 wellness events to more than 887,000 people.

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