PHARMACY

Meda ventures into generic drugs

BY Alaric DeArment

SOMERSET, N.J. A lot of generic drug companies have conducted business in the branded drug market on the side for a long time, with Teva Pharmaceutical Industries and Watson Pharmaceuticals standing out as good examples. But lately, some branded drug companies have sought to get into generics as well.

Meda Pharmaceuticals, the U.S. subsidiary of Swedish drug maker Meda A.B., recently decided to create its own generics subsidiary, calling it Wallace Pharmaceuticals, senior marketing director John White told Drug Store News.

“The strategy demonstrates Meda’s efforts to diversify and align and better serve the needs [and] interest of our customers,” White said. “We believe our ability to provide consistency in therapeutic effect, manufacturing and supply to our parent company’s branded products will prove to be a competitive advantage for Wallace Pharmaceuticals.”

Wallace will focus its business in the United States, with a core portfolio of allergy and pain medicines, White said. The company currently has no plans to enter the biosimilars market, however.

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East Harlem walk-in asthma center opens

BY Antoinette Alexander

NEW YORK Mayor Michael Bloomberg and Manhattan borough president Scott Stringer have announced the opening of a new asthma walk-in center in East Harlem, where the rate of childhood asthma hospitalizations is the highest in the city.

The new East Harlem walk-in asthma center — an expansion of the East Harlem Asthma Center of Excellence and a part of the City’s PlaNYC initiative — is aimed to reduce childhood asthma hospitalizations by 50% over the next five years.

The center is one of the key initiatives of Stringer’s Go Green East Harlem, a collaborative community-based initiative that has focused on five core areas: public health and healthy food, parks and open space, sustainable business, transportation, and green building.

The walk-in center staff worked out of the East and Central Harlem District Public Health Office before the new space was completed. The $3.5 million project included $700,000 from the Manhattan borough president’s office. The Department of Citywide Administrative Services provided site selection and project management services for the construction.

The new walk-in center will offer a number of asthma-related services, including on-site asthma assessments, individual and group asthma education, social support services, one-on-one asthma counseling, linkage to services to rid homes of asthma-triggering pests and mold and referrals for medical care. The walk-in center will also include a library with educational materials and computers with Internet access to help families learn the best strategies to manage asthma.

More than 25% of the children in East Harlem have asthma, and East Harlem has the highest rate of childhood asthma hospitalizations in the city. In 2008, 11-of-every-1,000 East Harlem children ages 14 years and younger were hospitalized. In 2008, Stringer and the Health Department’s East and Central Harlem District Public Health Office founded the East Harlem Asthma Center of Excellence to address the issue.

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Stew Leonard’s offers employees on-site physicals

BY Antoinette Alexander

NORWALK, Conn. Stew Leonard’s recently brought into its Yonkers store nurses and doctors from Inter-State Diagnostic to conduct on-site physicals for its team members as part of its commitment to preventive health care, the company announced.

The program kicked off Aug. 2 with 24 associates receiving their annual physical performed by a medical team with Inter State Diagnostic. The associates reported to a conference room above the store for blood work, an EKG and complete physical. Inter-State Diagnostic’s doctors and nurses provided privacy screens and all necessary medical equipment, and met with each team member regarding their healthcare-related questions. A translator for Stew Leonard’s Spanish-speaking employees also was on hand.

On-site physicals are the latest example of how the grocer has taken an active approach to preventive health care for its more than 2,500 employees. On-site cholesterol and blood pressure screenings, mammograms and flu shots are offered throughout year and discounts on weight-loss programs, smoking cessation aids, and fitness center memberships also are provided to both full and part-time team members. In addition, through  Aug 31, Stew Leonard’s will give team members up to $500 in Benefit Bucks ­or money toward their deductible ­ to encourage them to visit their doctor for their annual checkup.

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