PHARMACY

CVS/pharmacy hopes to boost flu shot rates among African-Americans

BY Antoinette Alexander

NEW YORK — CVS/pharmacy is encouraging African-Americans to get a seasonal flu shot as African-Americans have lower influenza and pneumococcal immunization rates, compared with the rest of the population.

According to CVS/pharmacy, 67% of whites received flu shots in the past year, compared with 48% of African-Americans and 55% of Hispanics. The CVS/pharmacy "all-in-one" flu shot protects against three of this season’s flu viruses, including H1N1 and the new strain H3N2. With the majority of influenza cases that can be prevented by receiving the flu vaccine, it is best to get a flu vaccination as early as possible. The CVS/pharmacy "all-in-one" flu shots are $29.95 and are covered by many insurance plans.

African-Americans have many misconceptions about getting the flu shot and do not realize that the seasonal flu can be unpredictable and even healthy people can get seriously ill from the flu, according to CVS/pharmacy.

Approximately 75% of all influenza and pneumonia deaths in African-Americans occur among those ages 65 years and older. Many also believe that if they get the flu shot, they will get seriously ill. It is even thought among African-Americans that the flu shot administered in retail settings is not of the same quality and standard as the flu shot from their doctor’s office. None of these myths are true, the retailer stated.

"[The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s] new universal recommendation was expanded this year to encourage anyone 6 months of age or older to get a flu shot," explained Ian Smith, medical expert and CVS/pharmacy spokesperson. "The CVS/pharmacy ‘all-in-one’ flu shot is a convenient way to get protected against the flu and a great gift this holiday season to yourself and your loved ones. It is administered by licensed CVS pharmacists and MinuteClinic nurse practitioners and it is the same flu shot that you would get from your doctor."

CVS/pharmacy also is offering flu shot gift cards for $29.95.

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FDA review of MS drug extended, EMD Serono says

BY Alaric DeArment

ROCKLAND, Mass. — The Food and Drug Administration has extended its review period for a multiple sclerosis drug made by EMD Serono, the drug maker said Friday.

EMD Serono — the U.S. subsidiary of German drug maker Merck KGaA, which uses the name to avoid confusion with U.S.-based Merck — said the FDA had extended the review time for cladribine tablets to Feb. 28. The drug is a disease-modifying drug for relapsing MS.

The FDA gave the drug an expedited review period in July, reducing the standard 10-month review period to six months. EMD said the FDA extended the review period to give it more time for a full review of additional information included in the regulatory application.

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Walgreens’ Pegus to discuss impact of diabetes management on healthcare costs

BY DSN STAFF

DEERFIELD, Ill. — Walgreens’ chief medical officer will discuss the evidence-based medicine design and impact of a diabetes management program delivered by pharmacists at both workplace and community pharmacies during an upcoming conference, the drug store chain said.

Cheryl Pegus will speak during the fifth annual World Research Group’s Diabetes Prevention and Management Forum for Health Plans and Employers in Las Vegas on Dec. 9. Pegus, who joined Walgreens as chief medical officer in May, will present in a session called “Community: The Impact of Pharmacist-Led Interventions,” which will help the audience learn how pharmacists provide cost-effective chronic care management in partnership with other healthcare professionals and positively impact healthcare costs, Walgreens said. Features include:

  • Driving engagement through convenient face-to-face access to a trusted clinician;
  • Delivering interventions that drive participation and behavior change; and
  • Demonstrating positive clinical improvement in HbA1c, blood pressure, HDL cholesterol and body mass index, while ensuring high levels of patient satisfaction.

Walgreens’ health outcomes and analytics director, Michael Taitel, also will be presenting at the conference.

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