PHARMACY

New report on tobacco use among young people released by surgeon general

BY Allison Cerra

WASHINGTON — The U.S. surgeon general this week released a report on tobacco use among the nation’s youth.

"Preventing Tobacco Use Among Youth and Young Adults" details the scope, health consequences and influences that lead to youth tobacco use and proven strategies that prevent its use, surgeon general Regina Benjamin said. The new report marks the first made by the surgeon general since 2009, when President Barack Obama signed the bipartisan Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act (Tobacco Control Act) into law.

To support the report, the surgeon general also released a guide that discusses was to address tobacco use among young people called "Preventing Tobacco Use Among Youth and Young Adults: We Can Make the Next Generation Tobacco-Free." What’s more, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Office on Smoking and Health will launch the Surgeon General’s Video Challenge to engage youth and young adults in developing original videos that feature one or more of the report’s findings.

"The addictive power of nicotine makes tobacco use much more than a passing phase for most teens. We now know smoking causes immediate physical damage, some of which is permanent," Benjamin said. "Today, more than 600,000 middle school students and 3 million high school students smoke. We don’t want our children to start something now that they won’t be able to change later in life."

The Food and Drug Administration praised the report’s release, saying it "not only documents the devastating consequences of tobacco use for our nation’s youth, but also represents a clarion call for bold action at every level of government to implement proven strategies to keep kids off tobacco."

"[The] FDA welcomes the authoritative and comprehensive scientific findings in the surgeon general’s report and will use these facts as we propose tobacco product regulations to protect our nation’s health and to conduct science-based education campaigns to inform the public — particularly young people — about the harmful ingredients in tobacco products with the goal to prevent initiation," FDA commissioner Margaret Hamburg siad. "By applying the science contained in this and other surgeon general’s reports we can help make tobacco-related death and disease a part of America’s past, not its future."


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PHARMACY

Kerr Drug, UNC pharmacy school to collaborate in pharmacogenetic study

BY Alaric DeArment

RALEIGH, N.C. — A regional retail pharmacy chain and a nearby school of pharmacy will collaborate on a study to evaluate the implementation of a pharmacogenetic program in a community pharmacy setting.

Kerr Drug announced Friday that it would work with the University of North Carolina Chapel Hill’s Eshelman School of Pharmacy to explore the feasibility of a program for Sanofi’s and Bristol-Myers Squibb’s blood-thinning drug Plavix (clopidogrel bisulfate).

Studies have recently shown that certain genetic variations between individuals can affect their responses to Plavix, and labeling for many drugs has been updated to include warnings of possible decreased response to therapy in some people.

"Because pharmacists have unique expertise in medication use and are point-of-care service providers, they can play an important role in facilitating pharmacogenetic testing and more personalized health care," Kerr Health EVP Rebecca Chater said. "This study will examine just how that role can be implemented."

During the six-month study, patients taking Plavix will be offered the opportunity to participate in the study through the pharmacy. They will then be screened and receive counseling at the pharmacy, with test results reviewed and interpreted by their pharmacists and prescribers.

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FDA approves Teva inhaler with dose counter

BY Alaric DeArment

NORTH WALES, Pa. — The Food and Drug Administration has approved a version of a drug made by Teva that includes a dose counter, the drug maker said.

Teva announced the approval of the inhaled drug ProAir HFA (albuterol sulfate) with a dose counter for treating bronchospasm with reversible obstructive airway disease and preventing exercise-induced bronchospasm in patients ages 4 years and older. The dose counter is designed to help patients and caregivers keep track of the number of doses in the canister.

"Short-acting beta-agonists like ProAir are an essential component of clinical treatment guidelines for asthma, [chronic obstructive pulmonary disease] and EIB," Teva SVP global respiratory research and development Tushar Shah said. "The dose counter is designed to help patients, as well as their healthcare providers, keep track of the number of doses remaining in the inhaler."

The company plans to launch the new inhalers later in the year.


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