PHARMACY

UnitedHealth: Cost of diabetes could be $3.35 trillion by 2020

BY Allison Cerra

WASHINGTON — The number of Americans diagnosed with diabetes and the related costs of the disease could reach catastrophic proportions, according to new research by the UnitedHealth Group.

The new projections are alarming, as more than 50% of Americans could have prediabetes or diabetes by 2020, which could carry a healthcare price tag of $3.35 trillion over the decade. New estimates show diabetes and prediabetes will account for an estimated 10% of total healthcare spending by the end of the decade at an annual cost of almost $500 billion — up from an estimated $194 billion this year, UnitedHealth said in its new report, “The United States of Diabetes: Challenges and Opportunities in the Decade Ahead.”

Estimates in the report were calculated using the same model as the widely-cited 2007 study on the national cost burden of diabetes commissioned by the American Diabetes Association, UnitedHealth noted.

“Our new research shows there is a diabetes time bomb ticking in America, but fortunately there are practical steps that can be taken now to defuse it,” said Simon Stevens, UnitedHealth Group EVP and chairman of the UnitedHealth Center for Health Reform and Modernization. “What is now needed is concerted, national, multistakeholder action. Making a major impact on the prediabetes and diabetes epidemic will require health plans to engage consumers in new ways, while working to scale nationally some of the most promising preventive care models. Done right, the human and economic benefits for the nation could be substantial.”

The report also focused on obesity and its relationship to diabetes, as the condition as one of the primary risk factors for diabetes — more than half of adults in the country who are overweight or obese have either prediabetes or diabetes, and studies have shown that gaining just 11 to 16 lbs. doubles the risk of Type 2 diabetes, and gaining 17 to 24 lbs. nearly triples the risk.

Click here to read the full report.

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Cardinal taps Fiacco to succeed Burnside as top exec for Medicine Shoppe, Medicap

BY Jim Frederick

ST. LOUIS  — Cardinal Health confirmed late Tuesday that it has named John Fiacco VP of its Medicine Shoppe and Medicap Pharmacy franchise division, effective Jan. 1.

Fiacco, a 23-year veteran of CVS/pharmacy, has held various leadership positions within Cardinal and Medicine Shoppe over the past decade, including VP field services for Medicine Shoppe. He will succeed Terry Burnside, who recently retired from his position as general manager of both franchise brands.

“He will take on the overall leadership of Medicine Shoppe and Medicap Pharmacy sales and operations,” Cardinal spokesperson Tara Schumacher told Drug Store News.

Fiacco will report to Steve Lawrence, SVP independent sales. Lawrence, said Schumacher, “is responsible for the overall leadership of Cardinal Health teams that serve all independent retail pharmacies, including Medicine Shoppe and Medicap Pharmacies.”

Cardinal now franchises 667 independent drug stores in the United States under the Medicine Shoppe and Medicap logos, according to Schumacher.

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American Dietetic Association journal article emphasizes diabetes nutrition therapy

BY Alaric DeArment

ST. LOUIS — The Journal of the American Dietetic Association has published a list of nutritional practice guidelines for people with Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes in its December issue.

Researchers reviewed research literature to create recommendations and practice guidelines centered on carbohydrates, protein intake, cardiovascular disease and weight management. Dietitians, according to the article, can encourage lifestyle changes and select appropriate interventions based on recommendations that include balancing nutritional intake with insulin doses, physical activity, weight management strategies and use of blood-glucose data.

“This publication has reviewed the process for developing the guidelines; identified major and contributing factors for diabetes nutrition therapy; reviewed and summarized research; and stated the nutrition practice recommendations that are to be integrated into the nutrition care process,” lead author and nutrition consultant Marion Franz said. “The nutrition practice guidelines provide recommendations for assessing client [and] patient needs and for selecting interventions, monitoring and evaluating outcomes.”

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