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ViiV Healthcare expands funding for HIV/AIDS organizations in South

BY Alaric DeArment

RESEARCH TRIANGLE PARK, N.C. — A joint venture founded by GlaxoSmithKline and Pfizer focused on treatments for HIV has expanded its support of community organizations in the South.

ViiV Healthcare announced Wednesday the first recipients of grants under its Positive Action Southern Initiative in Texas and Virginia, as well as seven grant awards to current network members in Florida, North Carolina, South Carolina and Tennessee. Recipients could receive up to $50,000 per year for a provisional commitment over the next two years to support and expand existing programs focused on linking people with HIV and at risk of contracting it to prevention and care services or enhancing their treatment adherence and delaying disease progression. The program has donated more than $2.3 million since its 2010 founding. GSK and Pfizer formed ViiV in late 2009, and Shionogi joined as a 10% shareholder in October 2012.

The recipients include the San Antonio AIDS Foundation, San Antonio; International AIDS Empowerment, El Paso, Texas; AIDS/HIV Services Group, Charlottesville, Va.; Basic NWFL, Panama City, Fla.; Big Bend Cares Inc., Tallahassee, Fla.; Rural Women’s Health Project, Gainesville, Fla.; Jacksonville Area Sexual Minority Youth Network, Jacksonville, Fla.; Nashville CARES, Nashville, Tenn.; South Carolina HIV/AIDS Council, Columbia, S.C.; and Western North Carolina AIDS Project, Asheville, N.C.

"Over the past three years, we’ve witnessed the power of innovative community programming as an effective way of providing strong HIV education, local hands-on support to the HIV community and resources that greatly impact disease prevention in the southern U.S.," ViiV Healthcare SVP and general manager for North America Bill Collier said. "We have seen the impressive results our partners on the ground have achieved thus far and are excited to expand on this important work and build on the foundation that has been established by providing renewed funding as well as welcoming new organizations to the network."

The expansion into Texas and Virginia is designed to reduce disparities in HIV and AIDS care and treatment among disproportionately affected African-American and Latino populations. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the South represents 45% of all new AIDS diagnoses, with new infection rates highest among African-Americans and Latinos.


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Colgate Bright Smiles, Bright Futures, Teach for America partner for BTS campaign

BY Antoinette Alexander

NEW YORK — To empower young students to maintain a healthy smile and excel in the classroom, Colgate Bright Smiles, Bright Futures has launched Smile for Picture Day — a new back-to-school campaign that uses the tradition of picture day to promote healthy brushing routines.

In partnership with Teach for America, a national nonprofit dedicated to expanding educational opportunities for children facing the challenges of poverty, more than 2,000 educators from across the country will champion Smile for Picture Day in Kindergarten through third-grade classrooms by sharing Colgate’s Bright Smiles, Bright Futures curriculum. In addition, Colgate’s fleet of mobile dental vans will travel to more than 150 elementary schools in September and October to provide Smile for Picture Day information and free dental screenings to children in need.

With long-standing partnerships with governments, schools and communities, Colgate Bright Smiles, Bright Futures has reached more than half a billion children across 80 countries with free dental screenings and oral health education.


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New report highlights importance of expanding pharmacists’ role in Canada

BY Antoinette Alexander

TORONTO — Expanding the role of pharmacists in Canada is one solution that will reduce the burden of chronic illness on patients, and save the system an estimated C$1.4 billion to C$1.9 billion dollars over three years, according to a new report released by Arthritis Consumer Experts, the Arthritis Research Centre of Canada and Shoppers Drug Mart.

"Pharmacists already help in the management of chronic conditions, but they can do so much more," stated Domenic Pilla, president and CEO of Shoppers Drug Mart. "Governments have identified chronic disease as an immense challenge and they are investing significant dollars in prevention and treatment of these illnesses; using pharmacists more effectively can help achieve the goal of improving care for Canadians, while at the same time actually reducing costs to the healthcare system."

The report, entitled "Sustainable Solutions Report: A Focus on Managing Complex Chronic Diseases," includes new survey data showing support from physicians and Canadians who want pharmacists to play a bigger role in healthcare delivery.

Complex chronic diseases, like arthritis, hypertension, diabetes, cancer, asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, affect 37% of Canadians and are a factor in 70% of deaths. Some risk factors for chronic diseases like age and genetics can’t be helped, while others are controllable like diet, exercise, or tobacco use. In 2011, the associated medical costs for individuals with these complex chronic diseases were estimated at $42 billion, or 21% of total healthcare spending. This figure is expected to rise to $53 billion by 2015.

How Pharmacists Can Make A Difference


The Shoppers Drug Mart "Sustainable Solutions Report" includes a set of three practical steps governments can take to facilitate pharmacists playing a more substantial role in the management of chronic diseases. These include: 1) enabling pharmacists to develop and manage patient care plans; 2) allowing pharmacists to make prescription renewals and adaptations for specific drug classes; and 3) improving electronic infrastructure and information-sharing between pharmacists and physicians.

Similar measures were outlined in a plan entitled, "9,000 Points of Care: Improving Access to Affordable Healthcare," released by Canada’s broader pharmacy community. That plan estimated between C$1.4 billion and C$1.9 billion would be saved over three years by expanding the role of pharmacists in managing chronic diseases. It is also estimated that 1.3 million emergency room visits and 500,000 hospitalizations could be avoided, freeing up to 6.3 million hours of physician time.

Enabling pharmacists to develop and manage patient care plans involving lifestyle management tips and one-on-one or group counseling is one instance of how pharmacists can improve the patient experience while also saving physician time and healthcare dollars.

An example of this type of program is the Shoppers Drug Mart Arthritis Screening that was developed in partnership with ACE and ARC. The screening includes a self-administered joint exam and questionnaire, which can help detect the disease at an early stage. It also helps Canadians with arthritis work with a pharmacist to monitor their symptoms and medication over time to prevent the disease from worsening.

"As someone who has lived with rheumatoid arthritis for 24 years, I know that patients today are eager to work more closely with pharmacists as a key member of their arthritis healthcare team," says Cheryl Koehn, arthritis patient and president of ACE.  "Pharmacists can play an important role in helping detect or confirm arthritis and recommending the appropriate healthcare provider if more information or treatment is needed. Your pharmacist is also well-informed about the medication therapies in their store, how to use them, what to monitor, their effectiveness and side effects, and the importance of actually taking them."

Currently, medication nonadherence results in 5% of hospital admissions, 5% of physician visits annually, and contributes C$4 billion to healthcare costs each year.

Physicians and Canadians Support Pharmacists’ Expanded Role


As part of the "Sustainable Solutions Report," national surveys were conducted of general practitioners and Canadians to determine their views on the role of pharmacists. It found 88% of doctors say they would be open to having more support from other healthcare professionals to help manage care for their patients with chronic conditions, like arthritis, diabetes, or hypertension.

Almost one-third of family physicians (31%) agree an expanded role for pharmacists will result in patients getting improved management of their chronic diseases. In addition, 40% say patients will get quicker access to some services.  Physicians agree that an expanded role for pharmacists can benefit the healthcare system as a whole in ways such as increasing patient adherence with medications (63%), reducing hospital re-admissions because of pharmacists conducting drug reviews (50%), and patients getting ongoing lifestyle and disease counseling from pharmacists (39%).

Canadians also want pharmacists to help them better manage their chronic conditions and would make use of their services. The research found that the vast majority of Canadians (94%) agree pharmacists can play an important role in helping people with chronic conditions manage their health, and 87% would like pharmacists to help make sure they take their medication as prescribed. Research from the Canadian Association of Chain Drug Stores and the Canadian Pharmacists Association reported similar findings.


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