PHARMACY

CVS to offer flu vaccinations in more than 4,000 stores

BY Allison Cerra

WOONSOCKET, R.I. CVS/pharmacy plans to help Americans stay healthy by offering flu vaccinations in over 4,000 of its stores, the company said Wednesday.

The flu vaccinations, which will be offered to customers by Oct. 1, will vary in cost based on location. Vaccines for Medicare Part B beneficiaries who present their Medicare Card will be available at no charge, provided they have not assigned their Medicare benefits to a private Health Maintenance Organization. The offer to receive the flu shots will run through November.

“The annual flu shot clinics at CVS/pharmacy are part of our commitment to help communities stay healthy,” said Papatya Tankut, R.Ph., Vice President of Pharmacy Professional Services at CVS/pharmacy. “By offering convenient locations for flu vaccinations, we’re providing additional opportunities for people across the country to get vaccinated before the peak flu season begins.”

Last year, nearly 400,000 people received flu shots at CVS/pharmacy.

It is strongly recommended people ages 50 and older, and/or have chronic illnesses like diabetes and asthma, receive a yearly flu vaccination, according to the Centers for Disease Control.

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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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