PHARMACY

DPCA’s Not Me program extended to Arizona state employees

BY Allison Cerra

PHOENIX — Arizona has become one of the first state governments in the nation to join a program created by UnitedHealth Group’s Diabetes Prevention and Control Alliance.

The state of Arizona joins more than 25 other Arizona employers who have enrolled in the DPCA’s Not Me program — an employer- and community-based initiative aimed at tipping the scales against the epidemic of diabetes, prediabetes and obesity — since its launch in 2010.

The Arizona Department of Health Services estimates 8.5% of the Arizona’s adult population statewide has diabetes. Nationally, nearly 26 million people, or 8.3% of the population, have diabetes, while 79 million Americans have prediabetes, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

"Diabetes is taking a staggering toll on children, families and communities across Arizona and throughout the country," UnitedHealthcare Employer and Individual of Arizona CEO Jeri Jones said. "The evidence shows that making small lifestyle decisions can have a big effect on reducing the prevalence of diabetes. This program provides an opportunity for Arizona residents to take control of their own health and say ‘Not Me’ to diabetes."


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PHARMACY

Lawsuit challenging ESI-Medco merger begins

BY Alaric DeArment

NEW YORK — Pharmacies hoping to block the merger between pharmacy benefit managers Express Scripts and Medco Health Solutions got their day in court Tuesday, according to published reports.

Bloomberg reported that a hearing in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Pennsylvania began in Pittsburgh, with the National Association of Chain Drug Stores, the National Community Pharmacists Association and several independent pharmacies hoping to stop the $29.1 billion merger, which the Federal Trade Commission approved last week.

In response, ESI has requested that the lawsuit be dismissed because the NACDS, NCPA and pharmacies waited too long to file their suit, having sued to prevent the merger on March 29, Bloomberg reported.


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PHARMACY

Rite Aid sends extra whooping cough booster vaccine doses to Washington state

BY Alaric DeArment

CAMP HILL, Pa. — A reported "epidemic" of whooping cough in Washington has prompted at least one retail pharmacy chain to increase supplies of booster vaccines for the disease.

Rite Aid announced Tuesday that it had brought in extra doses of Tdap to its 140 stores in the state. The announcement follows a report from the state’s Department of Health that there had been 640 cases of whooping cough, also known as pertussis, so far this year, a sevenfold increase compared with the same three-month period in 2011.

"Rite Aid pharmacists stand ready to give parents and caretakers help shielding their children against this dangerous disease," said Nirmal Singh, VP pharmacy for the region that includes Washington. "A quick trip to the neighborhood Rite Aid can help protect loved ones for years to come."

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends a whooping cough booster vaccine for everyone ages 11 years and older, as well as children as young as 7 years old if any of the five regularly scheduled whooping cough vaccinations are missed. The disease is particularly dangerous for infants, and about half of those under a year of age require hospitalization, according to the CDC.


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