PHARMACY

Research finds flu shot lowers hospitalization risk for children

BY David Salazar

Canadian organization Public Health Ontario and the Institute for Clinical Evaluative Sciences have published new research underscoring the ability of the flu vaccine to reduce hospitalization risk in children. The study found that fully vaccinated children’s risk of flu-related hospitalization decrease 60% and that partially vaccinated children’s risk decreasing 39%.

“Influenza can cause serious illness, especially in young children, but there hasn’t been a lot of research that has examined the magnitude of the influenza vaccine’s effectiveness at preventing kids from getting really sick and being hospitalized,” said Public Health Ontario applied immunization research and evalition scientist and ICES senior scientist Jeff Kwong, who is the senior author of the paper published in the Nov. 17 issue of PLOS ONE.

“This research paper helps fill that gap by showing how effective the influenza vaccine can be at protecting young kids against serious complications from influenza infections,” Kwong said.

Public Health Ontario said researchers looked at almost 10,000 hospital records over four flu seasons in the province for children between ages 6 months to under 5 years who had a respiratory specimen tested for the flu. The researchers compared variations in flu diagnoses by age group and flu strain. Children ages 2 to 4 years who were fully vaccinated saw their risk drop 67%, with children ages 6 to 23 months seeing their risk decrease 48%.

“These results show that flu vaccines are effective at preventing influenza hospitalizations in young kids, and this extended to those who received their vaccination in two consecutive seasons. This contributes to the evidence that this group should be receiving their seasonal vaccine annually to prevent such serious outcomes,” study lead author Sarah Buchan said.
 

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PHARMACY

AmerisourceBergen to acquire H.D. Smith

BY David Salazar

AmerisourceBergen will be acquiring H.D. Smith. The Valley Forge, Pa.-based company will be paying $815 million in cash for the company, which is currently the United States’ largest independent wholesaler.

The Springfield, Ill.-based H.D. Smith has been in business since 1954, and currently operates 10 distribution centers across the country, which provide full-line distribution of branded, generic and specialty drugs, the companies said. H.D. Smith’s customers include retail pharmacies, specialty pharmacies, long-term care facilities, hospital systems and independent doctors and clinics.

“The acquisition of H. D. Smith — a best-in-class private distributor with facilities across the country and a diversified customer base – strengthens our core business and expands and enhances our strategic scale in U.S. pharmaceutical distribution,” AmerisourceBergen chairman and CEO Steve Collis said. “This acquisition also builds upon our foundation and meaningfully expands our support for independent community pharmacies.”

AmerisourceBergen group president of pharmaceutical distribution and strategic global sourcing Bob Mauch told Drug Store News that H.D. Smith’s work with community pharmacies meshes well with the services AmerisourceBergen has been providing through its Good Neighbor Pharmacy independent pharmacy network and its pharmacy services administrative organization Elevate Provider Network.

“They are completely aligned with us in terms of their focus on community care, and they have a keen focus on community pharmacy and independent community pharmacy that they’ve had for a long time,” Mauch said. “We’re committed to being differentiated in the marketplace around customer experience so our customers can focus on their patients and their business, … and H.D. Smith shares that very same philosophy. In fact, we expect we'll learn some things from them as well, which we're very excited about.”

AmerisourceBergen noted that H.D. Smith’s subsidiaries — pharmaceutical brand support provider Triplefin and its PSAO Arete Pharmacy Network were not included in the acquisition.

“Our ultimate priority and commitment has been, and continues to be, the needs of our customers and trading partners,” H.D. Smith chairman and CEO Dale Smith said. “We believe AmerisourceBergen will continue the strong foundation set by my father. In joining AmerisourceBergen, we are confident our mission will continue, and remain a point of pride for the H. D. Smith family and its enduring legacy.”

AmerisourceBergen said that acquiring H.D. Smith would slightly increase the company’s earnings per share in fiscal year 2018, noting that it now expects revenue growth of 8% to 11%, adjusted operating income growth to be 4% to 7% and pharmaceutical distribution services operating income growth of 4% to 8%. Beyond the financial impact, Mauch said that the combination of the companies was a way to expand AmerisourceBergen’s efforts to support healthcare within communities through customer service, which include a revamping of its distribution network from both a physical and IT perspective.

“We’re continuing in a direction that's very focused on community providers in general for AmerisourceBergen," Mauch said. “The investments that you see — whether it's the distribution network and IT or GNP and Elevate, I think acquiring H.D. Smith is another step in that direction in terms of us being able to bring some of those services and resources to the independent pharmacy community.”

The company said it expects the deal to close in early 2018.

 

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OneTouch honors those with diabetes by launching #SmallVictories campaign

BY Gisselle Gaitan

Johnson & Johnson’s LifeScan brand, makers of OneTouch Verio Flex, plans to honors those across the country with diabetes by launching a new campaign. #SmallVictories will feature in-person surprises celebrating everyday lifestyle changes that have helped in moving forward with managing blood glucose. This new venture resulted from a new survey showing that while 83% of people living with Type 2 diabetes feel like they are working to make everyday lifestyles changes, more than a quarter cannot remember the last time they received any recognition for their efforts.

Overall, #SmallVictories aims to help people with diabetes see how the choices they make add up and empower them to celebrate each and every victory, the company said. As part of the campaign, the company will be surprising several people living with diabetes in front of a live audience with a personal party experience based on their unique small victory.

“As a doctor living with diabetes, I have the unique perspective of wearing both ‘patient’ and ‘physician’ hats,” Jeremy Pettus, an endocrinologist and assistant professor of medicine at the University of California, San Diego said.  “One of the biggest differences is reinforcing the notion that small, everyday actions lead to sustainable wins. As a OneTouch Verio Flex system user, I’m happy to partner with a company that recognizes the power of positivity and creates a people-friendly meter that helps to encourage these behaviors.”

The OneTouch brand-sponsored survey of 1,036 people living with Type 2 diabetes found there is room for improvement in celebrating the small victories those living with diabetes make frequently:

  • 48% of respondents stated they wish that they got some recognition for managing their diabetes;
  • Nearly a third of respondents believed that their family and friends don’t know how hard they work to manage their diabetes;
  • 44% of respondents agreed that managing diabetes is more stressful than their job/career; and
  • 52% of those surveyed reported that if someone they cared about took the time to recognize their everyday effort it would motivate them to increase their efforts to live a healthier lifestyle.

“More than 30% of survey respondents said they make at least 10 decisions a day to manage their diabetes,” Dr. Brian Levy, Chief Medical Officer, LifeScan, said “We’ve designed our OneTouch Verio Flex meter and OneTouch Reveal mobile app to be an easy, seamless way for patients to log blood glucose readings, see blood glucose and activity timelines transformed into quick visual snapshots over days and weeks, and share their victories with their doctor, family and friends. Information is power, and we aim to empower people who use OneTouch products with the information they need to celebrate what’s working in their diabetes management plans.”

LifeScan is encouraging those in the diabetes community to share their #SmallVictories and recognize the #SmallVictories of others on social media by using the hashtag.

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