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Walgreens partners with Chicago Public Schools and city health department on Tdap vaccination project

BY Michael Johnsen

DEERFIELD, Ill. — Walgreens, Chicago Public Schools and the Chicago Department of Public Health are teaming up to help parents of students in grades 6 to 12 meet a new Illinois state requirement for Tdap vaccinations, which help to protect against whooping cough, the pharmacy operator announced Tuesday.

“Walgreens is playing an important role in helping to prevent this serious illness, providing greater access to vaccine in the Chicago area and throughout Illinois," stated Harry Leider, Walgreens chief medical officer. "We have more than 600 points of care statewide including our pharmacies and Healthcare Clinics that routinely offer the Tdap vaccine and other immunizations year-round,” he said. “Access to this and other vaccines, as well as out-of-pocket costs are barriers for many families, and through this collaboration with CDPH and CPS, we’re focused on making the back-to-school season easier while helping more students and their families get, stay and live well.”

“In Chicago, more cases of whooping cough were reported last year than in the prior three years combined,” stated Julie Morita, medical director for the CDPH Immunization Program. “Making sure that children receive the Tdap vaccine is one of the most important things parents can do to protect their children. When our students are healthier, our classrooms, schools and communities will be healthier.”

Walgreens, CPS and CDPH, building on a collaborative health initiative around flu last year, aim to heighten awareness around the importance of getting the Tdap vaccine prior to the start of the school year Aug. 26, by providing greater and more convenient access to vaccinations through a number of programs and events. These include:

  • Events being held at select CPS locations with Walgreens pharmacists on hand to administer vaccines to students in need;
  • Walgreens and CDPH hosting immunization clinics throughout the city to provide vaccines to students in need;
  • The CDPH Care Van touring parks, schools and businesses to offer free mobile immunization clinics in communities across Chicago;
  • and 10 Walgreens stores in Chicago are being enrolled in the federally funded Vaccine for Children program, to help provide greater access to the Tdap vaccine for communities in need. The program provides vaccinations for eligible children up to 18 years of age.

The mandate comes as the number of whooping cough cases in Illinois have almost doubled over the past two years, part of a national trend that has seen the highest levels of illness in more than 50 years. Students will be required to show proof of having received a single dose of the Tdap vaccine, which protects against pertussis (whooping cough), tetanus and diphtheria, or have an approved religious or medical exemption on file by Oct. 15.

There were 2,026 whooping cough cases reported across Illinois in 2012, according to the Illinois Department of Public Health, the highest in the state since 1950. Whooping cough, or pertussis, is a highly contagious and potentially serious illness that is easily transmitted.

A Tdap booster vaccine is recommended for adults and adolescents to protect against whooping cough, and is important for those in contact with infants younger than 12 months of age. A dose of Tdap is also recommended for pregnant women.


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Most people with severe allergy risks have anaphylaxis while on vacation, study finds

BY Alaric DeArment

BRIDGEWATER, N.J. — A majority of respondents to a survey commissioned by drug maker Sanofi say that they or their children experienced a severe allergic reaction while traveling.

Sanofi announced the results of the nationwide survey of nearly 400 people, indicating that 65% of caregivers of children with severe allergies to food, insect stings or other causes reported that their child had an allergic reaction while on vacation. Wakefield Research conducted the survey between July 10-22, which included 275 adults who had been prescribed an epinephrine auto-injector and 223 caregivers of children, including some who fit into both categories; the survey had a margin of error of plus or minus 4.9 percentage points.

The study also found that 70% of adults at risk for a severe allergic reaction had one while taking a trip, and Sanofi noted that it was essential that people with allergies stayed prepared for emergencies as Labor Day, one of the busiest travel weekends of the year, approached. But despite the risks, 68% of adults and 49% of caregivers of children at risk for severe allergic reactions, also known as anaphylaxis, reported forgetting or leaving behind their epinephrine auto-injectors while away.

"As someone severely allergic to shellfish and a frequent traveler, I understand firsthand the importance of being prepared for an unexpected severe allergic reaction," football player Jerome Bettis, a spokesman for Sanofi’s Auvi-Q auto-injector, said on behalf of the company. "It’s critical that I plan ahead. This includes avoiding my allergen and letting restaurant staff know about my severe allergy; making sure I always carry my two Auvi-Q epinephrine auto-injectors; and knowing the number for emergency medical assistance in the area I’m visiting."

Nearly all the respondents — 99% — said they were worried about experiencing a severe allergic reaction at one or more outings. Other areas of worry for caregivers of children with food or insect allergies include restaurants, others’ homes and eating outdoors at picnics or barbecues, as well as pools and beaches.

Seventy-six percent of adults with food allergies say they’ve had anaphylaxis while on vacation, and 75% of respondents say they verify all food ingredients and preparation methods before eating, while 57% say they make allergy-friendly food at home to bring with them and eat. Meanwhile, 63% of those with insect allergies say they wear shoes outdoors, and 54% avoid clothes with bright colors and floral patterns.


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Cardinal Health keeps commitment to fastest-growing demographic in community pharmacy

BY Michael Johnsen

SEATTLE — Cardinal Health hosted a full-day pharmacy ownership “boot camp” to support Women in Pharmacy in Seattle, Saturday, Aug. 10, at the Cardinal Health 2013 Retail Business Conference, helping to pave the way to independent ownership for a key demographic across pharmacy schools and pharmacy operations — female pharmacists.

“The changing demographics of pharmacy students really says a lot about what the future of pharmacy will be,” remarked Christi Pedra, SVP of marketing and customer solutions for Cardinal Health. “More women are entering the pharmacy profession than men, but we’re not seeing that translate into business ownership. Some can point to the fact that they haven’t been exposed to what it’s like to be a retail independent or work in a retail setting, but also there’s an opportunity to help women explore [those opportunities].”

And that’s an area in which Cardinal Health has committed to helping break through in recent years. Now in its second year, the Cardinal Health Women in Pharmacy boot camp was created to help identify critical skills necessary for new owners to succeed in today’s pharmacy business climate, and help get the ball rolling toward store ownership through critical training and sharing key tips of the trade, including finance basics and basic personnel management training. The boot camp also featured a panel discussion with successful, present-day female pharmacy owners, “showing women the way to ownership and helping established owners grow their businesses is the mission — and passion — of the Women in Pharmacy Initiative,” Cardinal Health noted. The program was open to pharmacy students, alumni and pharmacy employees interested in owning their own business.

“What we’re trying to do is elevate the awareness [among women] that they can own their own store,” noted Steve Lawrence, SVP independent sales for Cardinal Health. Today most owners are men despite the fact that women comprise more than 60% of pharmacy students, he said.

“It’s going to be critical for women to be owners if you want independent pharmacy to thrive and grow,” added Michael Kaufmann, CEO of the Pharmaceutical Segment at Cardinal Health.

Helping prospective pharmacy owners find mentors is a key element of the boot camp and the work Cardinal Health does all year long to support female ownership, Pedra said.

“Pairing women with good mentors [is] a good focus for [the program],” noted Beverly Schaefer, pharmacist owner of Katterman’s Sand Point Pharmacy in Seattle, and a finalist for this year’s Ken Wurster Community Leadership Award (click here for more on the Wurster Award). “This program is designed to help women feel more confident in their ability to make good business decisions,” she added. “[Women in Pharmacy] offers them resources that they may not know are available — financial resources, design resources, partnering with manufacturers … it’s all support for either opening or running a business.”

“We think we can be very instrumental in helping young students and recent graduates understand what the options are in terms of pursuing pharmacy ownership,” Pedra said. “We think that we can coach and nurture them to the point that when they’re ready to start exploring ownership and financing options, that we can introduce them to some of the services that Cardinal Health provides like financial assistance through the Pharmacy Transition Services program.” That program helps link pharmacists interested in selling their businesses to pharmacists interested in owning and operating their own pharmacy.

“Women are the backbone of this profession,” added Kathy Campbell, owner of Medicap Pharmacy and OMC Pharmacy in Owassa, Okla. “You go into any pharmacy, whether it’s the pharmacist, the technicians, the cashiers or the customers, [women] are the ones who are in the pharmacy and are driving the business,” she said. “This is not just about women owning pharmacies; it’s about all women being empowered in their health care.”

Cardinal Health launched the initiative to offer women the resources, support and inspiration they need to start, manage and grow their own independent pharmacy, Lawrence noted. As part of the Women in Pharmacy programming, Cardinal Health also provided several important networking opportunities for female pharmacists, including its “Mix, Mingle and Mocha,” now in its third year as part of the Cardinal Health RBC lineup. “Mix, Mingle and Mocha” is aimed at helping to connect female pharmacy students with female pharmacy owners who may serve as mentors.

To keep up with all the news from Cardinal Health RBC 2013, visit DrugStoreNews.com/Cardinal-Health-Retail-Business-Conference-2013.

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