PHARMACY

Rite Aid sends extra whooping cough booster vaccine doses to Washington state

BY Alaric DeArment

CAMP HILL, Pa. — A reported "epidemic" of whooping cough in Washington has prompted at least one retail pharmacy chain to increase supplies of booster vaccines for the disease.

Rite Aid announced Tuesday that it had brought in extra doses of Tdap to its 140 stores in the state. The announcement follows a report from the state’s Department of Health that there had been 640 cases of whooping cough, also known as pertussis, so far this year, a sevenfold increase compared with the same three-month period in 2011.

"Rite Aid pharmacists stand ready to give parents and caretakers help shielding their children against this dangerous disease," said Nirmal Singh, VP pharmacy for the region that includes Washington. "A quick trip to the neighborhood Rite Aid can help protect loved ones for years to come."

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends a whooping cough booster vaccine for everyone ages 11 years and older, as well as children as young as 7 years old if any of the five regularly scheduled whooping cough vaccinations are missed. The disease is particularly dangerous for infants, and about half of those under a year of age require hospitalization, according to the CDC.


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Prasco launches authorized generic blood-pressure drug

BY Alaric DeArment

CINCINNATI — Prasco Labs has launched an authorized generic version of a blood-pressure drug made by Shionogi, the company said.

Prasco announced the launched of nisoldipine extended-release tablets in the 8.5-mg, 17-mg and 34-mg strengths.

The drug is an authorized generic version of Shionogi’s Sular. Authorized generics are branded drugs marketed under their generic names at reduced prices, usually under a partnership between the branded drug’s manufacturer and an outside company.


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PHARMACY

NCPA addresses pharmacy crime issue with new Protect Your Pharmacy Now! program resources

BY Allison Cerra

ALEXANDRIA, Va. — The National Community Pharmacists Association plans to provide its members with new resources to enhance pharmacy safety following the debut of a news segment that highlighted the growing frequency of pharmacy crime.

NCPA announced it currently is rolling out the Protect Your Pharmacy Now! toolkit to its members — part of a program with the same name — which contains safety and security tips and checklists to help pharmacies assess their current security needs. The kit also includes discounts NCPA has secured for employee background screenings, narcotics safes, surveillance systems, cameras, alarms and other theft-deterrent products to provide a turn-key resource for pharmacy operators, the association said. What’s more, NCPA members also will receive posters and window clings to serve reminders to employees, customers and drug seekers that robbing a pharmacy is a federal offense and carries with it severe penalties.

The toolkit release follows the airing of ABC World News’ "Pharmacy Robberies Increase" segment on April 5, which cited Drug Enforcement Administration statistics that robberies have increased 82% from 2006 to 2011, with 3,535 pharmacies having been robbed during that period. The report also showed images of robberies in progress from pharmacy security cameras and an interview with an independent pharmacy owner Bruce Goodarzi of Rockville Pharmacy in Rockville, Md.

"We applaud ABC News for highlighting what we believe is a growing public health concern," NCPA president Lonny Wilson said. "Pharmacists in all retail practice settings can benefit from learning more about how they can better protect themselves, their employees, and patients. The owners and operators of regional chains and single stores can implement practices immediately to better secure their businesses and to better prepare their employees how to respond in the event of a robbery."

Protect Your Pharmacy Week is recognized recognized April 16 to 20, NCPA noted.


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