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Study: Vitamin D supplementation needs may differ across ethnicities

BY Michael Johnsen

CHICAGO — In a multiethnic group of adults, low vitamin D concentration was associated with increased risk of coronary heart disease events among white or Chinese participants, but not among black or Hispanic participants, according to a study in the July 10 issue of JAMA.

“Low circulating concentrations of [vitamin D] have been consistently associated with increased risk of clinical and subclinical coronary heart disease," noted lead researcher Cassianne Robinson-Cohen of the University of Washington. "Whether this relationship is causal and modifiable with vitamin D supplementation has not yet been determined in well-powered clinical trials, which are ongoing."

According to the report, most vitamin D studies examining heart disease risk have included populations that are composed largely of white participants. Results from these studies are frequently extrapolated to multiracial populations, Robinson-Cohen suggested. "This may not be appropriate because vitamin D metabolism and circulating 25 (OH)D concentrations vary substantially by race/ethnicity.”

“Well-powered clinical trials are needed to determine whether vitamin D supplements have causal and clinically relevant effects on the risk of [coronary heart disease]," Robinson-Cohen suggested. "Currently, at least five such trials are under way. One of these trials, the Vitamin D and Omega-3 Trial (VITAL), is targeting enrollment of a large multiracial study population."

 

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Hawaii becomes third state to recently enact pharmacy choice legislation

BY Michael Johnsen

ALEXANDRIA, Va. — The National Community Pharmacists Association on Tuesday praised Hawaii elected officials for enacting two new laws that, respectively, will give the state’s residents greater choice of where to fill their prescriptions and additional medical privacy protections. NCPA fully supported HB 62 and HB 65, both of which passed the Hawaii House and Senate unanimously and were signed into law by Gov. Neil Abercrombie on June 27.

HB 62 restricts the ability of PBMs to utilize patients’ private medical information as a marketing tool in an effort to promote “preferred pharmacy” plans affiliated with the PBM.

HB 65 enables many patients to have their prescriptions filled at a retail pharmacy instead of being required to use mail order facilities. 

“NCPA appreciates the overwhelming support Hawaii’s elected officials have shown for this pro-patient, pro-pharmacist, pro-local economy legislation," stated Douglas Hoey, NCPA CEO. "We congratulate the community pharmacists whose grassroots efforts made this accomplishment possible and NCPA was proud to work closely with them in supporting these bills.” 

Hawaii follows Pennsylvania and New York as states that have recently enacted laws giving patients more freedom from mandatory mail order requirements, NCPA noted.


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New York-based group wins Target, Fast Company prize for group-shopping app

BY Alaric DeArment

MINNEAPOLIS — Target Corp. and Fast Company magazine have named a group of New York-based developers as the winners of a contest to develop an app to improve the mobile shopping experience for Target customers.

The mass merchandise retailer and business magazine said a group calling itself Team Pilot had won the $75,000 grand prize in the Co.Labs & Target Retail Accelerator contest with their app, Divvy. Divvy is designed to improve the group shopping experience by allowing multiple users to update a shopping list in real time while making it easier to split the bill and distribute receipts.

"The Retail Accelerator set out to find fresh and innovative ideas for a new mobile experience for Target, and the developer community absolutely exceeded our expectations," Target president of multichannel and SVP enterprise strategy Casey Carl said. "Selecting a winner wasn’t easy. But Team Pilot’s ability to make group shopping more convenient and seamless for guests made the project stand out above the others."

The contest drew more than 350 registrants and 76 completed entries between March and April 2013, with seven finalists selected by a panel of Target, Fast Company and other executives.


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