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Find the AAAnswers campaign takes screening tour to Kmart pharmacy locations

BY Allison Cerra

ROANOKE, Va. — A multifaceted campaign that advocates for increased awareness and preventive screening for abdominal aortic aneurysms once again is hitting the road with an annual screening tour.

The Find the AAAnswers campaign will make its first stop on Saturday at a Kmart pharmacy location in Roanoke, Va., followed by nine additional Kmart locations across the country. The campaign will offer free screenings to those interested in learning more about the disease.

A screening for AAA is quick and noninvasive, involving a simple ultrasound of the abdomen, similar to a pregnancy ultrasound. At select Kmart pharmacies across the country, preregistered people will visit a 40-ft. customized RV to receive a screening by a vascular technologist in a private exam room. Local board-certified vascular surgeons will volunteer on-site to answer questions and distribute educational materials about AAA disease.

AAA is a blood-filled bulge or ballooning of the abdominal segment of the aorta, the large artery that carries blood from the heart to the lower part of the body. Over time, the bulge, known as an aneurysm, can become weak and burst unexpectedly with fatal consequences.

"During last fall’s screening tour, we screened more than 1,000 at-risk individuals and educated countless others about the seriousness of vascular disease. The Find the AAAnswers Coalition is excited to offer these preventive services again to the public at no cost," said R. Clement Darling, treasurer of the Society for Vascular Surgery; chief of the division of vascular surgery at Albany Medical Center Hospital and a Find the AAAnswers Coalition member. "Because in many cases there are no warning signs, preventive screening for AAA is an effective way to detect a potentially life-threatening aneurysm."

According to the Society for Vascular Surgery, when detected early, at least 95% of AAAs can be managed and successfully treated.

For a complete list of Kmart pharmacies hosting the Find the AAAnswers tour, click here.

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NCPA, GNP name three finalists for Pruitt-Schutte Student Business Plan Competition

BY Michael Johnsen

ALEXANDRIA, Va. — Teams of pharmacy students from three universities have been named finalists in the Good Neighbor Pharmacy National Community Pharmacists Association’s Pruitt-Schutte Student Business Plan Competition, NCPA announced Tuesday. The finalists are from Idaho State University College of Pharmacy, University at Buffalo College of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences, and University of Oklahoma College of Pharmacy.

The Business Plan Competition is named to honor two champions of independent community pharmacy, the late Neil Pruitt Sr. and the late Joseph Schutte. The goal of the competition is to motivate pharmacy students to create a business model for buying an existing independent community pharmacy or developing a new pharmacy. Through this competition, NCPA is better able to prepare tomorrow’s pharmacy entrepreneurs for a successful future.

“The growing interest in independent pharmacy among students is extremely exciting," stated Robert Greenwood, NCPA president. "It is encouraging to see so many pharmacy students with an interest in exploring entrepreneurial opportunities in pharmacy through the competition."

“It is a meaningful way to promote independent community pharmacy ownership," added Steve Collis, president and CEO of AmerisourceBergen, whose Good Neighbor Pharmacy program is the primary sponsor of the competition. "The business plan competition offers the type of constructive, real-world experience that will provide students with the confidence and knowledge to become successful pharmacy owners."

Team members and the adviser for the three finalist teams will receive complimentary registration, travel and lodging to NCPA’s 113th Annual Convention and Trade Exposition in Nashville, Tenn., Oct. 8 to 12, where they will compete for first, second and third place in a live competition. For the recipient of first place, $3,000 will be given to the NCPA student chapter and $3,000 contributed to the school in the dean’s name to promote independent pharmacy. Second place will award $2,000 each to the NCPA student chapter and to the pharmacy school, and third place $1,000.

The competition is supported by Good Neighbor Pharmacy, Pharmacists Mutual Companies and the NCPA Foundation.

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FDA approves Covidien painkiller

BY Alaric DeArment

ST. LOUIS — The Food and Drug Administration has approved an opioid painkiller made by Covidien’s generic drug division, the medical supply company said.

Covidien said the FDA approved Mallinckrodt’s morphine sulfate oral solution, used to relieve moderate to severe acute and chronic pain in opioid-tolerant patients.

"FDA approval of this drug represents a key component in palliative care treatment," Covidien CFO and interim president for pharmaceuticals Matthew Harbaugh said. "It is important that we are able to respond to the concerns of the hospice and palliative care community."

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