PHARMACY

New report emphasizes importance of retail clinics, projects growth

BY Antoinette Alexander

WASHINGTON A recent report by the National Center for Policy Analysis, a nonprofit public policy research organization, underscored the importance of retail-based health clinics and stated that the number of clinics is likely to grow to 3,200 by 2014.

“The growth of the Internet, high-speed telecommunications networks and electronic medical records have made it possible for patients to seek care in a variety of clinical settings without losing the continuity of care a primary care provider offers,” the report stated. “Healthcare entrepreneurs using these technologies in retail clinics are making medical care increasingly accessible and convenient, while raising quality and reducing costs.”

Citing data from consulting firm Deloitte, the NCPA report stated that there are currently 1,100 to 1,200 clinics and the number is likely to grow to 3,200 by 2014.

The problem with today’s U.S. healthcare system, the report said: A lack of convenient, low-cost care that often leads to an overuse of emergency rooms.

“Competition from these new clinics may lead traditional physician practices to adopt new technology, and offer extended and more convenient weekend hours,” the report stated. “Moreover, low-cost, convenient clinics offer the best solution for improving access to care for the uninsured, individuals without a primary care physician and workers in need of routine care.”

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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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