PHARMACY

Stop & Shop, Giant Food pharmacies to offer Spanish labeling and instructions

BY DSN STAFF

QUINCY, Mass. Regional grocery chains Stop & Shop and Giant Food last week announced that their pharmacies now offer Spanish prescription labels and information to ensure that their customers receive proper instructions for their medications.

Stop & Shop and Giant Food also partnered with Language Line Services to test a new program that provides interpreters for customers via a telephone conference call. Through the program, which will be tested in 45 Stop & Shop and 20 Giant Food pharmacies, pharmacists can give instructions at the counter through an interpreter in more than 175 languages.

“We serve a diverse customer based, and this will enable us to better serve our Spanish-speaking customers,” said John Fegen, senior vice president of pharmacy operations for Stop & Shop’s parent company, Ahold. “This program is designed to provide pharmacy customers immediate access to professional interpreters, in an average of 15 seconds, who can explain instructions, side effects and precautions for medications in their preferred language, while reducing potential medication usage errors. For years, our customers have counted on us to give them excellent service, and this program gives us the opportunity to make it even better.”

Stop & Shop operates 389 stores throughout Massachusetts, Connecticut, Rhode Island, Maine, New Hampshire, New York and New Jersey. Giant Food will be offering the Spanish language program in 166 of its pharmacies, located mostly in the Mid-Atlantic states.

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Pharmacy-friendly TRICARE bill moves forward with passage of equal access provisions in Senate

BY Jim Frederick

WASHINGTON Two days after its passage in the U.S. House of Representatives, the Senate has voted to approve language in the Fiscal Year 2008 National Defense Authorization Act that pharmacy leaders consider critical to their ability to participate in the government’s massive TRICARE military health program.

The bill contains two key provisions that address the TRICARE prescription drug benefit for military beneficiaries. Among them: an extension of the current freeze on increases to retail pharmacy co-payments, so that patients covered by the military health plan won’t be penalized for filling their prescriptions at a community pharmacy rather than through a mail-order facility. The bill also affirms the right of the Department of Defense to negotiate with drug manufacturers for federal pricing discounts that would apply to prescriptions filled at retail pharmacies, as well as those that currently apply to drugs filled at military bases or by mail order facilities.

Citing the “extensive grassroots and lobbying campaign” his organization conducted to ensure those elements were included in the defense spending bill, NACDS president and chief executive officer Steven Anderson called the Senate’s approval of the provisions “a victory for community pharmacy and the military patients we serve.

“NACDS applauds the House and Senate for their action to preserve access to retail pharmacies in the TRICARE program,” he said. “Our nation’s soldiers, military retirees, and their families should have the freedom to choose where they obtain prescription medications, and this legislation will help protect that freedom.

“We urge President Bush to sign this legislation promptly so that it can be enacted into law,” Anderson added.

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Student designs new insulin delivery in a wristwatch

BY Drew Buono

PARIS A German student has designed a new mobile device to help pump insulin in a diabetic’s body without the hassle of using syringes or bulky machines, according to the European Space Agency.

The design is for a wristwatch that contains an ultra-light insulin pump to help people with type 1 diabetes. The watch produces its own electricity using aerospace technology, by conducting electricity caused by the movement of the person wearing the watch.

The product is being called COR and it can contain enough insulin to be sufficient for a type 1 diabetic for two-to-three weeks. The pump is attached to the user via a thin tube and a needle inserted under the skin to allow the insulin to flow into the body continuously, substituting for conventional syringe injections.

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