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GSK begins shipping FluLaval, Fluarix for 2012-2013 flu season

BY Allison Cerra

PHILADELPHIA — Following regulatory approval by the Food and Drug Administration’s Center for Biologics Evaluation and Research, GlaxoSmithKline confirmed it has begun shipping the first lots of its 2012-2013 seasonal influenza vaccines to healthcare providers and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention distribution centers.

GSK said FluLaval is approved for use in adults ages 18 years and older to help protect against influenza disease caused by the virus subtypes A and B contained in the vaccine. GSK said its other vaccine, Fluarix, is approved for use in adults, as well as children ages 3 years and older.

"The three strains of influenza virus in the seasonal influenza vaccine can change from year-to-year based on estimates of the strains that will circulate in the upcoming season," said Leonard Friedland, VP and head of clinical/medical affairs for GSK North America Vaccine Development. "This is a key reason why the CDC recommends everyone six months of age and older gets an influenza vaccination every year. For the 2012-2013 influenza season, two of the three strains have been changed compared to last year’s formulation."


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Pharmaca Healthcare Practitioners

BY Michael Johnsen

Positioning a knowledgeable healthcare advocate in the front-end aisles isn’t new — Pharmaca has banked on this key point of differentiation since its inception more than a decade ago. “Anytime you put anybody in the aisle for customer service, you’re going to increase your sales,” commented Mark Panzer, Pharmaca CEO. “Because people are looking for information; they’re looking for recommendations, a consultation to help them establish a regimen … to improve their health condition,” he said. “Anytime you can supply them with anybody who has any knowledge on their health care, whether a naturopathic doctor or health adviser, is a good move for the industry.”

Pharmaca’s health-and-wellness ambassadors are distinct from the ambassadors across the national retailers in that they are actual healthcare professionals — naturopathic doctors, homeopathic doctors, nurse practitioners, ayurvedic doctors and even aestheticians. “They’re knowledge base is a little bit more than just the product in the store — they have a deeper knowledge base to pull from to help patients on OTCs, supplements, nutrition [and] beauty care,” Panzer said.

Pharmaca currently operates 24 stores across five states.

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Max-Wellness Advocates

BY Michael Johnsen

Max-Wellness, a health-and-wellness concept store, has incorporated proactive employees armed with health information as part of its DNA since the company’s inception in 2010. The store format features “Max-Answers” information stations that house tablets that can either be picked up by a customer or a Max-Wellness associate for use right at the shelf of interest.

The health tablet programming is driven by Aisle7 but has been customized by Max-Wellness. And that health information isn’t static, noted company founder Michael Feuer, as the Max-Wellness advocates remain abreast of health news daily as a key discipline. “We want people to come in and say, ‘I just read this.’ … And we want [our advocates] to be authoritative. That’s really what makes us different.”

There are five Max-Wellness locations across Ohio and Florida.

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