CDC reports increase of influenza-like illnesses this summer
NEW YORK Bottom line: The CDC report means one of two things. The 2009-2010 flu season has kicked off to a roaring start as early as late August/early September — it usually doesn’t pick up until mid-October. Or that the 2008-2009 flu season never really ended.
Either way, it means we’re in for a very interesting, very active cold and flu season, especially with all the hype leading up to this season. One thing is for sure — you’ll be hard pressed to find someone who isn’t on some level aware and concerned about what the coming H1N1 flu virus means to him or her.
And it’s quite a bit of hype. For starters, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has developed two separate public service announcement campaigns — one as part of a partnership with “Sesame Street” geared toward kids; the second as a public contest to deliver the best PSA geared toward other adults — the winner gets $2,500, which should buy enough hand sanitizer and cold-flu medicine to last the rest of the season. And one of the core messages that’s a part of that campaign is “wash your hands” — and that the next best thing to washing your hands is hand sanitizer.
Second, the CDC announced months ago that seasonal vaccine would be delivered earlier than usual to make way for production around H1N1 vaccine (expected mid-October), and that consumers should get their shots as soon as they are available. And that has prompted just about every retail entity with a pharmacy and/or clinic home that provides seasonal vaccines to step up their programs this year, providing seasonal flu vaccine clinics between two weeks and one month ahead of when they launched those programs last year.
That means the government is telling people, in essence, to buy hand sanitizer and get their flu shots straight away. And both retail pharmacies and convenient care clinics are answering that call — mobilizing their flu-shot offerings sooner than later and coordinating with suppliers around what’s expected to be quite a bit of demand around cold-flu supplies this year, which this year has got to include hand sanitizer.
And as for H1N1 vaccination dissemination, both retail pharmacies and convenient care clinics are actively touting the advantages retail healthcare professionals can deliver — including both points of service (corner drug stores/clinics) and personnel (immunizing pharmacists/nurse practitioners).
And all of that means something else entirely — whenever there is a health crisis facing our country, be it Hurricane Katrina or a novel H1N1 pandemic, pharmacy and convenient care clinics are on the front lines, ready and able to make the delivery of health care that much easier.
Matrixx officially names Hemelt as CEO
SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. Matrixx Initiatives on Tuesday named William Hemelt as president and CEO, effective Aug. 28.
Hemelt had served as the company’s acting president, COO, and CFO since Oct. 31, 2008.
“[Hemelt] has demonstrated consistently strong leadership, particularly during this current challenging period for the company,” stated Matrixx chairman William Egan. “His long history with the company, which has included responsibility for the Matrixx’ finances, litigation strategy and, more recently, all aspects of the company’s operations, makes him uniquely prepared to lead Matrixx during these important times.”
Hemelt, 55, joined Matrixx in June 1998 as its CFO, treasurer and secretary. He assumed additional responsibilities as EVP, operations, in 2001 and served as secretary until February 2005 and treasurer until July 2007.
Schering-Plough launches new Claritin 12-Hour
KENILWORTH, N.J. Schering-Plough Corp. on Tuesday announced the launch of Claritin 12-Hour, the only 12-hour allergy medicine found in the allergy aisle, the company reported.
“New Claritin 12-Hour offers the proven allergy relief people have relied on for years, with the added flexibility for people who want more control of their treatment,” stated John O’Mullane, group VP, research and development, Schering-Plough Consumer Health Care. “Allergy sufferers can choose to treat their allergy symptoms for 12 or 24 hours depending on their individual needs.”
Until now, sufferers shopping the allergy aisle had to choose between 4- to 6-hour products, which could cause drowsiness, or products offering 24 hours of relief. However, according to a recent study, 34% of allergy sufferers want something in between, Schering-Plough stated.