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Myfortic may cause anemia, FDA and Novartis say

BY Alaric DeArment

ROCKVILLE, Md. Patients taking a drug for organ transplants have reported experiencing a type of anemia, the Food and Drug Administration and the drug’s manufacturer have announced.

The FDA and Novartis announced last week that some patients taking Myfortic (mycophenolic acid) had reported cases of pure red cell aplasia. PRCA causes selective reduction of red blood cell precursors in the bone marrow, where the cells are formed. Symptoms include fatigue, lethargy and abnormal paleness of the skin, though some cases can be reversed by reducing dosage of the drug.

PRCA has also been reported in patients taking Roche’s CellCept (mycophenolate mofetil). The sections of both drugs’ labeling listing warnings and possible adverse side effects have been updated, the FDA said.

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Stater Bros. to offer flu, pneumonia vaccines to customers

BY Allison Cerra

SAN BERNARDINO, Calif. Stater Bros. Supermarkets is helping customers stay healthy and well by offering seasonal flu and pneumonia vaccines. The vaccination period will start Sept. 17 and run through Nov. 1 at most Stater Bros. locations.

Participating Stater Bros. Supermarkets will be providing flu vaccination clinics in partnership with Test-Med Vaccination Services during scheduled days and times in September, October and November. Licensed nurses will administer the vaccines to adults age 18 and over, and the vaccinations will be given as long as supplies last.

The cost is $25 per vaccination. Test-Med is an approved Medicare part B provider, so eligible customers should bring their Medicare ID cards to the clinic, and they may be eligible to receive the vaccination with no out-of-pocket expense.

In addition to providing the seasonal flu vaccines, Stater Bros. Markets is working with vaccine providers, state, local and federal health authorities to obtain a supply of the vaccine to combat against the H1N1 virus. This vaccine is expected to be available in November.

“In the current economic environment, many of our customers have been forced to cut costs at the expense of their health,” stated Jack H. Brown, Stater Bros. chairman and CEO. “Stater Bros. has made the process of getting a flu shot affordable and convenient, so that our customers will have no reason to go unprotected this flu season.”

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention predicts an unusually severe flu season, elevating the urgency for certain groups and demographics to receive this vaccine. In addition to bringing the flu vaccine to its convenient locations, Stater Bros. is also helping customers get more value for their ever stretched budget through the company’s $4 Generic Prescription Program. Over 300 commonly prescribed medications are $4 for a 30 day supply or $10 for a 90 day supply.

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Report: Harris Teeter to implement new EHR in stores

BY DSN STAFF

MATTHEWS, N.C. A supermarket chain based in Matthews, N.C. has implemented an electronic health record to improve prescription accuracy in its pharmacy department, according to reports.

Harris Teeter Supermarket and Pharmacy announced that the new EHR will be implemented in all 118 Harris Teeter stores across the eastern part of the country. The chain is a subsidiary of the Ruddick Corp. and operates 188 stores in North and South Carolina, Virginia, Georgia, Tennessee, Florida, Maryland, and Delaware, as well as multiple stores in the District of Columbia.

The new EHR, known as MedFlash, is provided by Florida-based Connectyx Technologies Holding Group Inc.  MedFlash is an USB-enabled personal health and lifestyle record allowing for easy patient access to health data. With the drive, a patient can access data from multiple locations, enabling pharmacists the make informed decisions regarding patient prescriptions.

The company said prescription procedures will be more efficient with the new EHR implementation.

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