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D.C. municipal buildings to display calorie information on vending machines

BY Alaric DeArment

WASHINGTON — The mayor of the nation’s capital announced Thursday plans to include calorie information on vending machines in municipal buildings.

Washington mayor Vincent Gray said the rollout of the Calories Count Vending Program would give workers and visitors the information they need to make wise lifestyle choices and would ultimately help reduce healthcare costs.

"This program is a great example of a public-private partnership that empowers consumers," Gray said.

The program, launched in municipal buildings in Chicago and San Antonio last year, receives support from the National Automatic Merchandising Association and will start appearing in Washington next month.

"America’s leading beverage companies are committed to being part of meaningful solutions to the public health challenge of obesity, and working with Mayor Gray to bring the Calories Count Vending Program to city employees is an important part of addressing that challenge," American Beverage Association president and CEO Susan Neely said.

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Doctors support Pa. bill to expand pharmacist-administered vaccinations

BY Alaric DeArment

HARRISBURG, Pa. — "Numerous" physicians in Pennsylvania are supporting a bill that would expand the range of immunizations that pharmacists can provide, a state pharmacy group said Thursday.

The Pennsylvania Pharmacists Association said doctors around the state were urging legislators to support House Bill 776 in letters to the House Professional Licensure Committee, urging that members support the bill and vote it out of committee soon. The bill would expand the immunizations pharmacists can provide to children older than 7 years.

"We believe collaboration among physicians and pharmacists is key to improving vaccination rates in Pennsylvania," one letter read. "Using pharmacists as immunizers is a convenient and easy way to boost rates for not only the flu vaccine, but to also make needed school vaccines more accessible."

The pharmacists association said expanding the types of vaccines that pharmacists can administer would provide greater access to them and higher vaccination rates. Many of the 2,500 pharmacists available are in medically underserved areas and areas with shortages of health providers, making them the most accessible and affordable provider available.

"Pennsylvania currently ranks 16th in the nation in terms of vaccinating our children against preventable illnesses and diseases — there is definitely room for improvement there," Pennsylvania Pharmacists Association president Robert Frankil said. "We are very pleased to be working with Pennsylvania physicians to support legislation that would enable us to make progress in this area and help keep our state healthy. We encourage legislators to support this piece of legislation."

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NCL names honorees of Script Your Future Medication Adherence Team Challenge

BY Michael Johnsen

WASHINGTON — The National Consumers League and its partners on Thursday announced the awardees of the second annual Script Your Future Medication Adherence Team Challenge for health profession students. This month-long competition engaged health profession students and faculty in developing creative ideas for raising awareness about medication adherence as a critical public health issue. This year’s awardees are: St. Louis College of Pharmacy, University of Charleston School of Pharmacy, University of the Pacific Thomas J. Long School of Pharmacy & Health Sciences, Touro University College of Pharmacy California and the University of Mississippi School of Pharmacy.

"The involvement of students and faculty in the effort to boost medication adherence is incredibly important," said National Association of Chain Drug Stores Foundation president Kathleen Jaeger. "The Medication Adherence Team Challenge establishes this issue as a top priority for the next generation of health professionals, and inspires them to advance this goal within their own communities," she said. "The winners are showing the tremendous power that healthcare professionals can have on advancing patient care through medication adherence. We hope that is a lesson they will carry with them throughout their careers and that will inspire others to do the same."

"We were excited to expand our competition this year beyond just student pharmacists to more broad outreach to additional fields of future health professionals who interact with patients — doctors, nurses, nurse practitioners and others," stated Sally Greenberg, NCL’s executive director. "This more comprehensive approach will ultimately result in patients hearing from multiple voices encouraging them to take their medication as directed."

Research shows that nearly 3-out-of-4 Americans don’t take their medications as directed. Poor medication adherence has been recognized by national health advocacy groups as a public health priority; it results in more than one-third of medicine-related hospitalizations and almost 125,000 deaths in the United States each year. Improved medication adherence leads to better health outcomes and reduced total healthcare costs.

The Script Your Future Medication Adherence Team Challenge was a month-long outreach competition held in February 2013 to engage interdisciplinary student teams from pharmacy, medicine, nursing and other health professions charged with tackling the problem of poor adherence. The teams implemented innovative solutions and outreach in their communities to raise awareness and improve understanding about medication adherence using Script Your Future materials. This year, the students also submitted entries in the categories of health disparity outreach, chronic condition outreach, and creative inter-professional team.

More than 1,700 future healthcare professionals held 200 events in 35 states and the District of Columbia, counseling more than 12,000 patients and reaching more than 3 million consumers nationwide.

The Medication Adherence Team Challenge is part of the Script Your Future public awareness campaign launched in 2011 by NCL. The campaign includes more than 130 public and private stakeholder organizations, including the American Association of Colleges of Pharmacy, the NACDS Foundation, the American Medical Association and the National Community Pharmacists Association. 

 

 

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