Officials in Massachusetts approve regulations for retail-based health clinics
BOSTON Massachusetts health officials have approved regulatory changes allowing the operation of retail-based medical clinics at pharmacies, according to published sources.
The regulations come in response to a 2007 CVS application to open in-store health clinics in the state. The decision by health officials affected whether to allow the pharmacy retailer to open a MinuteClinic in Weymouth, Mass., the first of 20 or 30 statewide, the company said.
In the application, CVS reportedly asked the Department of Public Health to waive some of the state’s requirements for licensing clinics. For example, because none of the conditions treated at the clinics requires a blood test, CVS reportedly sought approval to waive the requirement for blood collection equipment and facilities.
Officials say the new regulations also will help not-for-profit hospitals, community health centers and others expand basic health services.
Rather than considering applications that require numerous waivers, state officials decided in September to consider an alternative set of regulations that, if approved, would make the application process for operating limited-service medical clinics transparent. The Department of Public Health set two public hearings—Sept. 5 and 18—so that the public could comment on the matter.
Critics say the clinics could pose a conflict of interest, putting profits ahead of patients’ health. But supporters say they will expand access to health care and help ease conditions at crowded emergency rooms.
“MinuteClinic looks forward to working with the Massachusetts Department of Public Health as it develops the regulations that will guide limited service clinics in the state, and we are pleased to be part of the public dialogue today,” said MinuteClinic chief executive officer Michael Howe in a statement from the Sept. 5 hearing in Boston on 105 CMR 140.000, Licensure of Clinics. “Massachusetts is leading the nation in health care reform, and limited scope clinics have an important role to play. MinuteClinic offers convenient, affordable access to quality health care. MinuteClinic also ensures continuity of care through electronic health records and by referring patients without a primary care provider to doctors who are accepting new patients.”
Drug Store News estimates put the number of in-store clinics operating nationwide at more than 900 at the end of 2007.
Internet pharmacies make false claims regarding certification
SOUTH FLORIDA Federal regulators are receiving complaints from the Better Business Bureau and other professional groups after discovering that some Internet pharmacies are falsely claiming to be certified by their organizations, according to South Florida’s Sun-Sentinel.
The pharmacies are stating that they are located in Canada and are therefore offering cheaper prices on drugs to its customers, many of whom are Florida’s elderly. Customers started complaining after they wither did not receive their medications or they got drugs that appeared questionable.
One of the companies that the Internet pharmacies claim to be certified by is PharmacyChecker.com. Over the last 18 months, PharmacyChecker has received about 100 complaints from customers who thought they certified the websites.
The Internet pharmacies are using fake logos and phone numbers to make them appear certified and legitimate to customers. The Canadian International Pharmacy Association, which has 25 member pharmacies that are government-licensed, has also been receiving several calls a week from American consumers about not receiving shipments from sites they thought were CIPA-approved.
The Federal Bureau of Investigation has started a special investigation of Internet pharmacy practices, including the trademark violations and other issues.
Amylin launches SymlinPen for Type 2 diabetes
SAN DIEGO Amylin Pharmaceuticals has released its new prescription device, the SymlinPen 120 and 60 pen-injector devices for administering the blood sugar controlling drug Symlin. The new devices feature simple, fixed dosing to improve mealtime glucose control.
The SymlinPen 120 features fixed dosing to deliver 60 or 120 micrograms of Symlin per dose. The SymlinPen 60 features fixed dosing to deliver 15, 30, 45, or 60 micrograms of Symlin per dose. Both pen-injector devices can be conveniently stored at room temperature not to exceed 86 degrees F after first use.
“Symlin offers enhanced blood glucose control with potential weight loss for patients with diabetes using mealtime insulin, enabling them to do more to manage their diabetes,” said Daniel M. Bradbury, president and chief executive officer, Amylin Pharmaceuticals. “The convenience of the new SymlinPen with simple, fixed dosing will make it easier for these patients using multiple daily injections to start and stay with Symlin.”