PHARMACY

Safeway pharmacies offering pertussis booster vaccine

BY Michael Johnsen

PLEASANTON, Calif. — Safeway pharmacies in California are responding to the state’s whooping cough (pertussis) emergency and now are offering Adacel, a booster vaccine for people ages 11 through 64 years, the grocer announced Wednesday.

The Adacel vaccine is available at all Safeway, Vons and Pavilions pharmacies on a walk-in basis, the company stated.

California’s incidences of whooping cough have reached a 60-year high, with more than 5,200 confirmed, suspected and possible cases this year, according to the California Department of Public Health. Because of the sudden increase, Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger recently signed a bill requiring 7th-grade through 12th-grade students to get a whooping cough booster shot before the start of the next school year.

 

 

Agrowing number of insurance plans cover the whooping cough booster vaccine, decreasing or eliminating out-of-pocket costs, as well as eliminating the cost of a doctor’s office visit.

 

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PHARMACY

Obesity costs U.S. employers billions, study finds

BY Allison Cerra

NEW YORK New research by Duke University found that obese workers cost U.S. employers $73.1 billion a year.

 

The researchers, led by Eric Finkelstein, deputy director for health services and systems research at Duke-National University of Singapore, used survey data from the 2006 Medical Expenditure Panel Survey and the 2008 U.S. National Health and Wellness Survey to determine the extent to which obesity-related health problems affected absenteeism, work productivity and medical costs. Among those with a body mass index higher than 40, or roughly 100 lbs. overweight, these costs worked out to $16,900 per capita for women and $15,500 for men.

 

 

"Much work has already shown the high costs of obesity in medical expenditures and absenteeism, but our findings are the first to measure the incremental costs of presenteeism for obese individuals separately by body mass index and gender among full-time employees," Finkelstein said.

 

The study was published on Oct. 8 in the Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine.

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Jewel-Osco enters flu prevention game

BY Allison Cerra

ITASCA, Ill. Supervalu’s Jewel-Osco stores announced a flu prevention program with vaccinations available in all locations with a pharmacy.

Jewel-Osco said its pharmacists will offer the traditional flu vaccine, the needle-free FluMist nasal spray and the new high-dose Fluzone for patients older than 65 years, during regular pharmacy hours.

The flu vaccine is available for $26.99 for either the traditional injection or FluMist. Fluzone HD is available for $59.99. The cost of these vaccines is covered by Medicare Part B and many commercial health plans, which means that many customers may not be incurring additional costs.

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