PHARMACY

Innovation key to future prosperity and health, Lilly chief says

BY Alaric DeArment

LOS ANGELES Sustaining the country’s edge in innovation and improving focus on people in medical innovations will be key to achieving prosperity and health in the coming decade, the leader of one of the country’s largest drug makers said Thursday at a luncheon in Los Angeles.

Serving as the keynote speaker at a Town Hall luncheon, Eli Lilly & Co. chairman and CEO John Lechleiter said it was necessary to pursue policies fostering innovation such as broad improvement of science and math education in grade schools and high schools, sustained funding for basic research and immigration policies that encourage scientists to work in the United States.

“We tend to think of innovation in terms of technology, science and labs, but innovation is essentially the application of human ingenuity to improve human life,” Lechleiter said. “To fully appreciate innovation, we have to see and understand clearly its benefits for humankind.”

The United States lately has fallen short in the area of science and math education, Lechleiter said, noting that American 15-year-olds rank poorly against their counterparts in other developed countries, while the average scores for 12th graders in the sciences have declined, and the number of college students pursuing bachelor’s degrees in science, technology, engineering and math is insufficient to meet future demands.

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Publix joins H1N1 efforts during National Influenza Vaccination Week

BY Michael Johnsen

LAKELAND, Fla. To coincide with National Influenza Vaccination Week, Publix Pharmacies announced Wednesday an inoculation offer of the H1N1 vaccine for $10. The special pricing for the vaccine will remain in effect until the vaccine supply is depleted. Customers do not need an appointment for the vaccination, but are encouraged to call their local Publix Pharmacy to ensure an immunizing pharmacist is on duty and vaccine supply still is available.

In addition, every customer who receives an H1N1 vaccine from a Publix Pharmacy will also receive a coupon good for a $10 Publix gift card with a new or transferred prescription.

“While influenza is unpredictable, we know that if more people are vaccinated, the disease is less likely to spread in the upcoming months,” stated Maria Brous, Publix media and community relations director. “Our Publix Pharmacists are committed to the total health and wellness of our customers and their families.”

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FDA finds Spiriva does not raise risk of heart attack, stroke

BY Alaric DeArment

ROCKVILLE, Md. Data from a recent review of a treatment for chronic obstructive pulmonary disease do not support allegations that it raises the risk of stroke, heart attack or death, the Food and Drug Administration announced Thursday.

The FDA reviewed a 5,992-patient study of the Spiriva HandiHaler (tiotropium), made by Pfizer and Boehringer Ingelheim as a treatment for COPD, a disease that includes emphysema and chronic bronchitis.

In March 2008, an FDA Early Communication described data submitted by one of the companies suggesting a small increased risk of stroke in patients who had taken the inhaler’s active ingredient. An update in October of that year highlighted two additional publications suggesting an increased risk of stroke, heart attack and death in patients using the drug.

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