PHARMACY

Penn Traffic reaches settlement with SEC after scrutiny for accounting practices

BY Alaric DeArment

SYRACUSE, N.Y. Penn Traffic has announced that it has reached a settlement with the Securities and Exchange Commission, concluding the SEC’s investigation into the company’s accounting practices and policies before its emergence from bankruptcy in April 2005.

The investigation had focused on practices and policies relating to promotional allowances at the company from fiscal 2001 through fiscal 2003, as well as those of its subsidiary Penny Curtiss bakery from fiscal 2000 through the first quarter of fiscal 2003.

Without admitting or denying the SEC’s allegations, the company agreed to settle the charges by consenting to a permanent injunction against future violations of federal securities laws. The SEC did not impose fines or monetary penalties.

As part of the settlement, Penn Traffic will hire an independent examiner who will provide annual reports to the SEC, the United States attorney for the Northern District of New York and the company?s board relating to its promotional-allowance internal controls and financial reporting. The examiner will serve for three years.

“The company has worked hard to address a number of legacy issues so Penn Traffic’s resources and attention can be fully dedicated to our customers, our stores and our operations,” senior vice president and general counsel Daniel Mahoney said in statement. “One of the legacy issues facing the company was this SEC investigation, so the settlement is another important step in the right direction.”

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Zebra to provide industry printer services to Managed Healthcare Associates

BY Alaric DeArment

VERNON HILLS, Pa. A company that provides printing services for the healthcare industry and the country’s largest alternate-site GPO have signed a three-year agreement to provide barcode and card printers.

Zebra Technologies will provide Managed Healthcare Associates with its printers, as well as supplies and service agreements, at almost 500 of MHA’s member facilities for identification, tracking and access-control applications.

“Increasing patient safety is among the highest priorities in healthcare today,” MHA contract coordinator Kelly Decker said. “Having effective information technology in place is a key step in building a culture of safety that enables providers to improve outcomes and quality of care throughout their organizations.”

According to the Institute of Medicine, at least 1.5 million preventable adverse drug events happen every year in the United States, thought bar coding has been shown to reduce dangerous and expensive medical errors.

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Drug adherence study shows that patients suffering despression often go off medication

BY Alaric DeArment

NEW YORK A company that provides patient adherence and education programs released a study recently that examined adherence rates among patients on SSRI/SNRI antidepressant therapy.

The study, by Burlington, Mass.-based Adheris, found that patients new to antidepressant treatment and those who had restarted therapy after a lapse of six months or more were twice as likely to discontinue therapy in the first 30 days of treatment versus patients previously dispensed an antidepressant.

It also found that the greatest differences in the duration of antidepressant use were not among patients using different drugs, but among patients taking the same drug with different levels of prior experience with antidepressants.

The study appears in the September issue of the journal Clinical Therapeutics. It included more than 211,000 patients taking SSRI/SNRIs from 1,157 retail pharmacies across the country.

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