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NCPDP offers industry guidance on pediatric oral liquid medications

BY Michael Johnsen

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. — NCPDP, the not-for-profit pharmacy standards development organization, on Wednesday announced the availability of a patient safety white paper that provides specific industry guidance for standardizing the dosing designations and labeling of oral liquid medications. 

The white paper details patient risks associated with the variety of oral liquid dosing designations, prescribing practices and processing systems that can lead to dispensing, and later administration errors that can harm patients — especially pediatric patients who often are prescribed liquid medications.

“Adoption and implementation of the white paper recommendations will have an immediate impact on improving patient safety today,” said Lee Ann Stember, president of NCPDP. “This collaboration is another great example of what can be accomplished when NCPDP brings industry stakeholders together to address our most valued and vulnerable healthcare stakeholder — patients.”

NCPDP’s white paper provides best-practice guidance on prescription orders, prescription labeling and administration of oral liquid medications. The recommendations are consistent with best-practice requirements by The Joint Commission for certification across acute care inpatient settings, as well as Food and Drug Administration and industry recommendations for over-the-counter medicines. The white paper also covers the provision and use of appropriate dosing devices, as well as recommendations for caregiver and patient education to facilitate proper administration of oral liquid medications.

According to the recommendations, milliliter should be the standard unit of measure used on prescription container labels for oral liquid medications. Dose amounts should always use leading zeros before the decimal point for amounts less than one, and should not use trailing zeros after a decimal point on prescription container labels for oral liquid medications. And dosing devices with numeric graduations and units that correspond to the container labeling should be made easily and universally available, such as including a device each time oral liquid prescription medications are dispensed.

The white paper includes specific calls to action for industry stakeholders, but broadly calls organizations to communicate, adopt and implement the recommendations; measure organization performance and stress accountability across the organization for adhering to the recommendations; and develop patient-centered communications and encourage pharmacist-to-patient conversations at the point of dispensing. 

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Ahold USA hosts nutrition education days

BY Michael Johnsen

CARLISLE, Pa. — As part of its ongoing commitment to help customers achieve healthier lifestyles, Ahold USA recently hosted two nutrition education days on April 8 and 9 at its Carlisle Support Office. Topics of discussion included specific products, information and services related to nutrition and health, and how to better engage and educate customers. Participants included all 12 of the company’s retail divisions in-store nutritionists, as well as members of Ahold USA’s health and wellness, marketing and quality assurance teams.

“Being in the food industry, we have an opportunity to make a real difference in the health of our customers. As part of these nutrition education days, we were able to share best practices to make our stores a better place to shop for customers working towards healthier lifestyles,” said Shirley Axe, Ahold USA’s health and wellness manager. “The best feedback we get is from our customers, and we want to be sure that our network of stores, nutritionists and vendor partners are in sync with how we can best serve their health and wellness needs.”

Approximately 20 vendor partners — including American Egg Board, American Mango Board, Chobani, Dannon, Dole, Enjoy Life, Kellogg’s, Kidfresh, Mondelez, Organic Valley, Sunmaid, Unilever and Way Better Snacks — were also invited to be part of the discussion. Each day a mini trade show was held where vendors could showcase their products and have an opportunity to speak one-on-one with the in-store nutritionists who are in the stores talking with customers every day.

“We love supporting the Ahold USA nutritionists, and this event allowed us to share with them nutrition knowledge that both increased their expertise and helped to communicate the nutrition benefits of our Cabot products and others in the category,” said Sara Wing, director of marketing, RDN, Cabot Creamery.

Marie Spano, a nutrition communications expert and one of the country’s leading sports nutritionists, served as guest speaker for the event. She is currently the sports nutritionist for the Atlanta Braves and Atlanta Hawks. Spano’s other clients have included NFL, PGA and NHL players.

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Reports: Secretary Sebelius resigns; former Walmart Foundation executive next in line

BY Michael Johnsen

WASHINGTON — Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius has resigned her post, according to published reports. 

President Obama accepted the resignation this week and intends to announce that he will nominate Office of Management and Budget Director Sylvia Mathews Burwell to replace Sebelius. A formal announcement is expected Friday, according to reports. 

Sebelius has faced heavy criticism regarding the launch of the health exchange under the Affordable Care Act. Sebelius testified to the Senate Finance Committee on Thursday that 7.5 million had enrolled in private health insurance plans, beating initial projections by 500,000 enrollees. 

According to reports, White House officials suggsted Sebelius made the decision to resign without prompting from the Administration. She first notified President Obama on her intent to step down in early March, one White House official told USA Today.

Burwell was confirmed to her current post by the Senate last April. She previously served as president of the Walmart Foundation.

 

 

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