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Walgreens expands access to shingles vaccine

BY Michael Johnsen

DEERFIELD, Ill. — With shingles vaccines widely reported to be in short supply from some healthcare providers, Walgreens on Monday announced the expansion of its availability of Zostavax — a one-time vaccine that can reduce the risk of shingles in individuals ages 60 years and older — and now is offering shingles vaccinations daily at more than 2,000 Walgreens stores and Take Care Clinics.

"Our pharmacists, Take Care Clinic nurse practitioners and other healthcare professionals have been instrumental in creating a growing awareness of the benefits of the shingles vaccine, and in educating the public on why it’s particularly important for those over 60 [years]," stated Kermit Crawford, Walgreens president of pharmacy services. "Walgreens’ network of more than 26,000 certified immunizers has demonstrated our unique capabilities to provide a wide range of [the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention]-recommended vaccinations when it’s most convenient for our patients."

The CDC recommends Zostavax for those older than 60 years of age to help reduce the risk of shingles. The agency estimated nearly one-third of Americans will develop shingles at some point, with more than 1 million people in the United States developing the painful skin rash or nerve disease each year. Shingles can affect anyone who has had chickenpox; however, it is most common in people ages 50 years and older.

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Warner Bros. Consumer Products, Mattel develop ‘Green Lantern’ toy line

BY Allison Cerra

BURBANK, Calif. — Gearing up for the summer release of superhero flick "Green Lantern," Warner Bros. Consumer Products is teaming up with licensee Mattel to help fans fight evil through a new branded toy line.

WBCP said Mattel will bring "Green Lantern" to life by producing the lineup, which includes:

  • The Green Lantern Ring Blast jet figure and vehicle;

  • The Green Lantern Battle Shifters figures;

  • The Green Lantern Movie Masters figures; and

  • Such role-play items as the Green Lantern Colossal Cannon blaster.

The ‘Green Lantern’ toys will be presented at the 2011 International Toy Fair in New York this week.

“Green Lantern is among the greatest superhero characters in popular culture, and we are proud to unveil a merchandise program befitting this summer’s highly anticipated film, as well as the perennial comic book franchise,” said Karen McTier, EVP domestic licensing and worldwide marketing for Warner Bros. Consumer Products. “Led by an incredible toy line from Mattel, fans of all ages around the world will be able to capture the excitement of ‘Green Lantern.’”

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New HHS Web portal to drive innovative disease state management

BY Michael Johnsen

WASHINGTON — The Department of Health and Human Services on Friday launched a new Web portal that very well could make niche marketing of pharmaceutical and over-the-counter medicines easier to execute.

The portal, called the Health Indicators Warehouse, represents a collection of health and healthcare indicators that can be parceled out by:

  • The health of a population (e.g., life expectancy, mortality, disease incidence or prevalence, or other health states);

  • Determinants of health (e.g., health behaviors, health risk factors, physical environments and socioeconomic environments); and

  • Healthcare access, cost, quality and use.

A health indicator may be defined for a specific population, place, political jurisdiction or geographic area.

“We recognize that one of the keys to better health and health care is data-driven decision-making at all levels, and the HHS warehouse lowers the barrier for development of technologies to achieve this goal,” stated Todd Park, HHS chief technology officer.

“The Health Indicators Warehouse provides a new public resource needed to fuel development of innovative information technology applications needed to improve health and healthcare decision-making,” stated HHS secretary Kathleen Sebelius.

Presently, the Health Indicators Warehouse includes nearly 1,200 health indicators derived from more than 170 different data sources.

For more information about the Health Indicators Warehouse, visit HealthIndicators.gov.

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