Schnucks targets Celiac sufferers
ST., LOUIS —The cultivation of cereals for human consumption helped give rise to the first civilizations, but humans’ dependence on grains has left out the 1-in-133 people who have an autoimmune disorder that prevents them from digesting grains. Celiac disease, which prevents people from processing gluten and results in malnutrition and intestinal damage, has been around a long time, but lately, some retailers have provided relief to those with the disease.
Schnuck Markets announced at the beginning of August a partnership with Ellisville, Mo.-based Beck’s Gluten-Free to provide fresh and prepared gluten-free meals at 13 of its stores in the St. Louis area. Customers can order by phone or through the Schnucks and Beck’s websites (schnucks.com/gluten-free.asp and becksgf.com) and pick up the order the next day. Beck’s foods range from salads and pasta dishes to chicken entrees and fruit pies.
According to a report by Nielsen released in May, sales of gluten-free food products increased by 74% between 2004 and 2009, and are projected to grow by 15% to 25% per year, reaching $2.6 billion in sales by 2012.
BioMarin Pharmaceutical acquires ZyStor Therapeutics
NOVATO, Calif. BioMarin Pharmaceutical has acquired privately owned biotechnology company ZyStor Therapeutics for $22 million, BioMarin said.
The drug maker said it also would pay ZyStor up to $93 million in milestone payments. The main gem in the deal was ZC-701, ZyStor’s investigative treatment for the lysosomal storage disorder Pompe disease and a potential competitor to Genzyme Corp.’s Pompe disease treatment Myozyme (alglucosidase alfa). A phase 1/2 clinical study of ZC-701 in late-onset Pompe disease is expected to begin in first quarter 2011.
“The acquisition of ZyStor gives us the opportunity to introduce a superior product to fulfill an unmet medical need and is a perfect fit in our core business,” BioMarin CEO Jean-Jacques Bienaime stated. “It not only provides us with a promising product candidate for Pompe disease, but also an exciting new platform technology.”
Nurse practitioners are vital to a healthy U.S. healthcare system
WHAT IT MEANS AND WHY IT’S IMPORTANT The USA Today article highlighting nurse-managed centers as one “innovative” program that could help fill the primary care physician void is important because it underscores the important role that nurse practitioners play in delivering quality healthcare services.
(THE NEWS: Nurse-managed centers may fill primary care physician void. For the full story, click here)
It is no secret that the healthcare system has been, and will continue to be, under great strain as healthcare costs soar and a shortage of primary care doctors largely contributes to the bottle-necking taking place within emergency rooms.
According to numbers provided by the Convenient Care Association, as few as 2% of medical students coming out of U.S. medical schools intend to pursue a career in general primary care. Also, between 30% and 60% of convenient care clinic patients reported not having a primary care physician. Plus, as many as 40% of convenient care clinic patients said they would have sought costlier care or would have foregone care completely if there had not been a convenient care clinic available.
Clearly, there’s a gap that needs to be filled, and convenient care clinics and such clinics as the Family Practice and Counseling Network in Philadelphia highlighted in the USA Today article, are striving to help fill that gap.
The good news is that the importance of nurse practitioners, as well as the retail-based clinic setting, is not going unnoticed. In fact, Senators Dan Inouye, D-Hawaii, and Thad Cochran, D-Miss., in July introduced the Senate resolution officially designating Aug. 2 to 8, 2010, as National Convenient Care Clinic Week.
Now, with about 30 million uninsured gaining healthcare coverage under healthcare reform and patients making fewer physician visits, either because they can’t afford it or can’t get an appointment in a timely fashion, the U.S. healthcare systems needs “innovative” programs and needs nurse practitioners.