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Report: Bachmann’s vaccine comments could have lasting repercussions

BY Alaric DeArment

NEW YORK — Health experts have expressed fear that Republican presidential candidate Michele Bachmann’s comments about the human papillomavirus vaccine could set back progress in vaccinations, according to published reports.

The New York Times quoted experts as saying that vaccination rates often drop when public figures raise alarms about vaccines, including one who said it could set back efforts to vaccinate against human papillomavirus — a sexually transmitted infection that causes genital warts and several cancers in men and women — by three years.

Bachmann was widely ridiculed by figures on the left and the right, and was condemned by medical experts, for calling Merck & Co.’s Gardasil vaccine "dangerous," citing the claims of a mother who purportedly told her that it caused her daughter to develop mental retardation, but without providing scientific evidence.

Merck and the American Academy of Pediatrics quickly responded, saying clinical trial data showed the vaccine is safe and effective. Bachmann had been seeking to score political points against fellow Republican candidate Rick Perry, who as governor of Texas signed an executive order in 2007 mandating that girls receive the vaccine in the sixth grade.

Bachmann’s comments came in the wake of a climate of public apprehension over vaccines that had only recently abated after a 1998 study published in The Lancet purporting to show a link between the measles-mumps-rubella vaccine and autism proved to be fraudulent.

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PharmaSmart introduces MTM, blood pressure database applications

BY Alaric DeArment

ROCHESTER, N.Y. — PharmaSmart unveiled its new medication therapy management software at the National Association of Chain Drug Stores’ Pharmacy and Technology Conference in Boston, the blood-pressure monitor manufacturer said.

BPT-Rx integrates into the pharmacy software system and links blood pressure results collected from PharmaSmart monitors directly to an enrolled patient’s electronic profile. The software supports improved patient enrollment and targeted patient intervention based on established clinical guidelines, all without interrupting core pharmacy workflow. Pharmacists using the software can receive qualified payer reimbursement by submitting outcome-based reports.

"PharmaSmart is in tune with today’s retail pharmacist and the patient delivery system," CEO Fred Sarkis said. "As pharmacy looks to MTM reimbursement as a core ROI objective, our technology is designed to specifically meet the challenges of patient recruitment, pharmacist workflow and payer reimbursement. For over 10 years, the industry has observed attempts to deploy multibiometric, media-focused devices into retail pharmacy. Such deployments have not been effective in driving clinical programs or pharmacy services revenue. We have demonstrated that program success hinges on a high-validity, low-complexity kiosk and a high degree of workflow integration to sustain pharmacist execution and program scalability."

The company also demonstrated the PS DataSmart database and analytics engine, which currently houses more than 12 million patient blood-pressure readings from across North America. PS DataSmart Analytics provides clients with direct, transparent access to program metrics and allows them to track by-store and by-day usage, program enrollment rates, hypertension rates and trends and other metrics, such as cholesterol, diabetes and body mass index, to validate the program and guide MTM strategies. The analytics tool validates program growth and helps maximize resource management efficiency.

"Historically, [blood-pressure] kiosks have been positioned as advertising vehicles, and not chronic disease management support tools," PharmaSmart COO Ashton Maaraba said. "It’s challenging to drive pharmacist engagement in a program that is engineered to maximize advertising revenue. Traditional self-care kiosk programs supported by OTC marketing dollars offer limited returns and fail to address the current pharmacy services imperatives. Under the current environment, pharmacy retailers are looking to drive new, scalable ROI opportunities through pharmacy services, MTM and effective patient-care initiatives."

PharmaSmart serves more than 6,000 locations across the country, including such pharmacy retailers as Walmart Canada, Safeway Canada, Coborn’s, Loblaw’s, Roundy’s, Smart Med Rx, Leader, Good Neighbor, Le Groupe Jean Coutu, Shoppers Drug Mart, Rexall/Katz Group, Zellers, Sobey’s, Lawton’s, Astrup Drug, Winn Dixie, Big Y Foods and others.

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McKesson Specialty Health unveils Onmark Select Program for community-based oncologists

BY Allison Cerra

THE WOODLANDS, Texas — McKesson Specialty Health has introduced a new program that is designed to help independent, community-based oncology practices grow and deliver high-quality care to patients.

The Onmark Select Program, delivered through McKesson Specialty Health’s solutions for oncology, provides independent community-based oncology practices with the capability to advance the science, technology and quality of care through customizable services. Those enrolled in the program "benefit from the McKesson Specialty Health’s expertise and leadership in such areas as advanced technology, business and operational support and clinical support," McKesson Specialty Health said.

"Through a flexible range of services, the Onmark Select Program helps practices gain purchasing efficiencies, grow patient volumes, optimize revenue and enhance productivity so community oncologists can focus on what they do best: provide advanced, high-quality care to patients fighting cancer," McKesson Specialty Health president Mark Walchirk said. "Our innovative clinical and business capabilities and our advanced, integrated technology strengthen community-based practices. Through our unmatched breadth and depth of services and expertise, we offer community oncology practices a competitive advantage in challenging times."

For more details on the Onmark Select Program and its offerings, click here.

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