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Study: Majority of critically ill children have low vitamin D blood levels

BY Michael Johnsen

 OTTAWA, Canada — A recent study published in the journal Pediatrics determined that 3-out-of-4 critically ill children were found to have vitamin D blood levels below the target considered safe by many experts and medical societies. 

"This is the first study to report on vitamin D levels in a large group of critically ill children," stated Dayre McNally, lead researcher and a clinical researcher and intensivist at the Children’s Hospital of Eastern Ontario.

The study included more than 300 children and teenagers at six Canadian hospitals in Ottawa, Toronto, Hamilton, Edmonton, Saskatoon and Vancouver. These children were admitted to an Intensive Care Unit with severe infections, significant trauma or conditions requiring major surgery, such as congenital heart defects.

In addition to 3-out-of-4 having suboptimal vitamin D blood levels, those with lower vitamin D levels were noted to be sicker, requiring more life-sustaining therapies (e.g., breathing tubes, medications to support heart function) and staying in the ICU for longer periods of time.


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Regional pharmacy retailer conference focuses on social media

BY Alaric DeArment

CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. — Social media was the biggest topic of discussion as regional retail pharmacy executives from around the country gathered last month for the Southern Drug Stores Association’s annual meeting.

VP marketing Theron Andrews of Seattle-based Bartell Drugs gave a presentation on how to use social media such as Facebook and Twitter to benefit customers’ knowledge of pharmacy goods and services, while social media expert Phil Adikes was a featured speaker for the event, which took place at Keswick Hall at Monticello in Charlottesville, Va. from Aug. 8-11, drawing chains like Drug Emporium, Fruth Pharmacy, Hartig Drug, Kinney Drugs, Lifechek Drug, Sav-Mor Drugs, Sav-On Drugs, Red Cross Pharmacy and Ritzman Pharmacies. Sav-On Drugs CEO Bill Newman will be the new SDSA chairman next year, the group said.

"The time spent at Southern Drug always pays dividends for us," Fruth Pharmacy president Lynne Fruth said. "Looking at new product offerings and sharing best practices with other chains is invaluable. We always come back with products or a few new initiatives to implement, and the time we are able to spend with business partners is very beneficial."

Other events allowed extensive interactions between vendors and pharmacy executives.

"I can honestly say that this was one of the finest pharmacy business meetings I have ever attended," pharmacy technology manufacturer Kirby Lester’s Christopher Thomsen said. "Granted, the location and facilities were first-rate, but the overall organization of this event and the quality of the meetings and social events were world-class."

 

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BI launches Combivent Respimat

BY Alaric DeArment

RIDGEFIELD, Conn. — Boehringer Ingelheim Pharmaceuticals has launched a drug for treating chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, the company said Tuesday.

BI Pharmaceuticals announced the launch of Combivent Respimat (ipratropium bromide and albuterol), calling it a propellant-free inhaler that uses a slow-moving mist to deliver the same active ingredients as the Combivent metered dose inhaler, requiring one inhalation per dose, compared with Combivent MDI’s two inhalations.

"Combivent Respimat is a testament to our company’s commitment to developing advancements for peole living with respiratory disease," BI Pharmaceuticals VP clinical development and medical affairs Tunde Otulana said. "We are continuing to examine the potential of several late-stage investigational compounds also delivered by the Respimat inhaler."


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