HEALTH

Rexam’s Pill Timer seeks to improve medication adherence

BY Alaric DeArment

PERRYSBURG, Ohio Rexam is marketing a programmable pill timer that fits on its prescription vials that was developed under a partnership with Med Time Technology.

 

The two companies announced Tuesday the introduction of the Pill Timer, which uses software that can be programmed with audio and visual alerts to help people properly take their prescription medications. The Detroit-based Henry Ford Health System is one of the first healthcare organizations to adopt the product.

 

 

“The use of the Pill Timer will enable Henry Ford to help chronically ill patients manage their medication more effectively,” Henry Ford director of pharmacy Steve Duda said. “It’s an important breakthrough for our patients.”

 

 

Every year, poor medication management is estimated to cost the U.S. economy $300 billion and claim 300,000 lives, Rexam said.

 

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FDA clarifies position on low blood pressure drug

BY Alaric DeArment

PHILADELPHIA The Food and Drug Administration did not completely withdraw from the market a drug used to treat a dangerous low blood pressure condition, but merely proposed to do so as a “step in the regulatory process,” according to a document posted on the agency’s website Monday.

The agency said its proposal last month to withdraw approval for Shire’s drug ProAmatine (midodrine) did not represent the actual withdrawal of the drug from the market, while calling for more data on the drug to verify its clinical benefit.

 

The drug, originally made by Roberts Pharmaceutical, received accelerated approval in 1996 as a treatment for orthostatic hypotension, a condition in which patients are unable to maintain blood pressure when standing. The drug since has been approved in generic form as well. Shire acquired rights to the drug when it acquired Roberts in 1999.

 

On Aug. 16, the FDA proposed withdrawing marketing approval for ProAmatine because of a failure of clinical study data to demonstrate its efficacy in patients with the condition, though many patients, physicians and professional groups continue to regard it as efficacious, according to the document. Shire announced Aug. 17 that it had elected to withdraw the drug, effective Sept. 30.

 

Shire hailed the news. “Shire is very pleased that FDA has stated that ‘continued patient access to midodrine is a key agency priority’ and that the FDA has taken action allowing midodrine to remain accessible to patients and their families who rely on this medicine,” Shire SVP research and development Jeffrey Jonas said. “We look forward to continuing our ongoing discussions with the FDA related to the efficacy of this medicine.”

 

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CDC issues report on breast-feeding among mothers

BY Michael Johnsen

ATLANTA Three-out-of-4 new moms initiate breast-feeding, according to the “2010 Breast-feeding Report Card” released Monday by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. However, only 43% of babies are still being breast-fed at 6 months of age.

The 75% breast-feeding initiation rate meets the nation’s Healthy People 2010 goal, and half of the states have breast-feeding initiation rates above 75%.

“Meeting the national breast-feeding initiation goal is a great accomplishment in women’s and children’s health, but we have more work ahead,” stated William Dietz, director of CDC’s Division of Nutrition, Physical Activity and Obesity. “We need to direct even more effort toward making sure mothers have the support they need in hospitals, workplaces and communities to continue breast-feeding beyond the first few days of life, so they can make it to those 6- and 12-month marks.”

State by state breast-feeding initiation rates ranged from 52.5% in Mississippi to nearly 90% in Utah.

While initiation rates steadily have risen, the number of babies who continue breast-feeding until 6 months and 12 months remains stagnant for the third consecutive year. Only 43% (1.8 million) are still breast-feeding at 6 months, and only 22% (fewer than 1 million) are breast-feeding at 12 months. National Healthy People 2010 objectives call for 50% of new mothers to continue breast-feeding for 6 months and 25% to continue for one year.

Breast-feeding at 6 months of age ranged from over 62% in Oregon to about 20% in Louisiana. Breast-feeding at 12 months ranged from nearly 40% in Oregon and Vermont to 8% in Mississippi.

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