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Reports: Most drugs safe for breast-feeding mothers, babies

BY Alaric DeArment

NEW YORK — A new report by the American Academy of Pediatrics indicates that it is safe for women to take the medications and vaccinations they need while breast-feeding.

According to HealthDay News, the AAP worked with the Food and Drug Administration to produce the report, which is about proposed changes to drug labels. As part of the changes, the section, currently titled "Nursing Mothers," would be changed to "Lactation" and include more information about how a drug might be transferred to breast milk, and any potential harm it might cause to a baby.

The report also refers women and their doctors to a database maintained by the U.S. National Library of Medicine called LactMed, which contains information on more than 450 drugs. There are more than 3,000 unique pharmaceuticals available, but most have not been studied in breast-feeding women.

 

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Peapod expansion shows growth in online grocery shopping

BY Alaric DeArment

Peapod is opening nine new pickup locations at Stop & Shop stores around Massachusetts and Rhode Island as part of an expansion push in New England, bringing its total number of sites in those states and Connecticut to 27.

The way Americans shop for groceries is undergoing a rapid and dramatic change. Supermarkets will likely continue to exist for a long time, but a growing amount of shopping for food is happening online.

While it’s the largest online grocer in the country, Peapod isn’t alone. Its competitor in the New York market, FreshDirect, controls about 80% of the New York market for online grocery shopping, and Amazon appears to be looking to move in as well, as it already has on the West Coast.

But there’s a lot of innovation in online grocery shopping, too. Last month, Peapod formed a deal with Viroqua, Wis.-based Harvest Moon Farms to deliver organic and heirloom vegetables to customers in the Chicago area. Part of the deal included funding from Peapod for early crop seeds and other supplies, and the company said it would allow customers to buy boxes of produce without having to buy farm shares or be locked into a weekly commitment.

Also last month, one of Peapod’s sister companies, the Dutch supermarket chain Albert Heijn, introduced a pickup point at Amsterdam’s Schiphol Airport, which allows customers to order items online from wherever they’re vacationing and then pick them up upon arrival.

According to a 1,650-person survey released last year by the Food Marketing Institute, 46% of shoppers report never or rarely purchasing groceries online, but 54% say they occasionally do. Online purchases of grocery items typically include such items as health and beauty products, home and pet products, while "very few" shoppers — about 4%, to be exact — purchase fresh foods and produce.

Meanwhile, consumers reported 2.2 weekly grocery trips in 2012, compared with 1.7 in 2011. However, the increases in patronage were in warehouse clubs, drug stores, dollar stores, ethnic food stores and convenience stores, while traditional supermarkets, supercenters, discount stores and limited-assortment stores saw fewer visits.

 

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2014: Collaborative care and outcomes-based medicine will make this the year of the retail clinic

BY Michael Johnsen

The collaboration between Community Health Network and Walgreens’ Healthcare Clinic is officially underway as of last week, the companies announced. It’s just one manifestation of how retail clinics and the pharmacies that house them will contribute to making health care more cost-efficient in the years ahead through coordinated care vetted by improved outcomes. 

In fact, 2014 will be the year of the retail clinic. The collaboration dovetails nicely with Walgreens’ plans to significantly expand the scope of care found at Healthcare Clinic that president and CEO Greg Wasson talked about at the company’s last quarterly conference call. "These new services include diagnosis, treatment and management for hypertension, diabetes, high cholesterol and asthma, as well as additional preventive health services," he said. 

And CVS/Caremark is positioning its MinuteClinic as a go-to source to support care management and wellness programs associated with the new state and federal health exchanges. CVS/Caremark plans to open 150 clinics this year, and to end 2013 with just under 800 clinics with almost one-third expanding into new markets, Larry Merlo, CVS/Caremark president and CEO, recently told investors. 

In addition to big growth moves from the leaders, expect other retailers who seemingly had been on the sidelines previously to expand both the scope and footprint of their clinic operations in the months ahead. One example is Ahold, which will open its fourth FastCare clinic Tuesday. Lancaster General Hospital Express is also partnering with Ahold on retail clinics. 

 

 

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