HEALTH

N.Y. drug stores, organizations band together to fight off swine flu

BY DSN STAFF

NEW YORK The swine flu story first broke Friday, April 24, and quickly grew in prominence on the evening news with each chilling update from the Centers of Disease Control and Prevention. On April 24, it was 20 cases in three states. By Friday, May 1, there were 141 cases across 19 states and counting.

 

The concerns are growing and real. The Food Marketing Institute announced the cancellation of an industry gathering in Dallas next week and a great number of schools have been closed across the country — even where there were no confirmed cases of swine flu — all out of those concerns.

 

 

The federal government quickly declared a state of emergency, and as part of that, the CDC began distributing some 11 million doses of Tamiflu to all 50 states from its Strategic National Stockpile. For all the good that does, because the common American doesn’t have access to the national stockpile of anything. At least not at this preliminary stage. But they do have access to their neighborhood drug store.

 

 

To date, the greatest cluster of swine flu exists in New York City, and each of the prominent drug store retailers in that city — CVS, Duane Reade, Rite Aid and Walgreens — reported an increase in demand for antivirals like Tamiflu and Relenza, hand sanitizers and facemasks. That demand included a nine-fold increase for antivirals nationwide on Monday, April 27 as compared to the 26 days prior, according to an initial analysis by SDI. Which is telling, because what it means is that in a time of crisis when consumers are looking for immediate solutions, they turn to their neighborhood pharmacists for both products and information — one supermarket pharmacist in upstate New York reported she was fielding between 10 and 15 questions per day around swine flu. That’s one shift, and that was early in the week.

 

 

And nurse practitioners are also more and more becoming a healthcare resource for consumers — the Convenient Care Association representing more than 1,200 member clinics in 30 states announced that its members are prepared to help consumers with any swine flu concerns — be it questions or a preliminary diagnosis.

 

 

All of this boils down to one simple truth — pharmacy, with its breadth and depth of healthcare products and services — is the de facto front line of healthcare delivery. Concerned consumers only need walk into their local pharmacy to get all that they require — a prescription from their doctor or nurse practitioner filled, hand sanitizers and facemasks for disease prevention or sound advice from a knowledgeable and practiced healthcare professional.

 

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Nature & Health Co. announces voluntary, natiowide recall

BY Michael Johnsen

BREA, Calif. Nature & Health Co. on Tuesday announced that it is conducting a voluntary nationwide recall of the company’s supplement product sold under the name Libimax after being informed by representatives of the Food and Drug Administration that Libimax samples could contain tadalafil, the active ingredient in Lilly’s prescription-only erectile dysfunction drug Cialis.

The product is distributed through vitamin stores, grocery stores and liquor stores, according to the company’s Web site.

FDA advised that this poses a threat to consumers because tadalafil may interact with nitrates found in some prescription drugs (such as nitroglycerin) and may lower blood pressure to dangerous levels. According to the FDA, consumers with diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol or heart disease often take nitrates.

FDA advises that ED is a common problem in men with these conditions, and they may seek products to enhance sexual performance. FDA advises that tadalafil, may cause side effects, such as headaches and flushing.

The recalled Libimax is sold as a 1 capsule individual pack or 10-capsule and 20-capsule plastic bottles in retail stores in California, Georgia, Illinois, Texas and Ohio.  The product label neither states it contains tadalafil nor warns consumers with high blood pressure not to ingest the product.

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Take Care Health Systems set to educate patients on swine flu

BY Michael Johnsen

CONSHOHOCKEN, Pa. Walgreens and Take Care Health Systems are prepared to educate patients and provide recommendations for individuals seeking information on swine flu, the pharmacy retailer and clinic operator announced Wednesday.

“Take Care Health Providers are up-to-date on the latest Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines and have relevant protocols for diagnosing and treating the swine flu,” stated Allan Khoury, chief medical offer for Take Care. “As with any patient health concern or question, providers are available to give information and education to patients at both our Take Care Clinics and employer on-site health and wellness centers and pharmacies across the country.”

A rapid flu test cannot diagnose the swine flu strain specifically, Take Care cautioned, but positive tests for Influenza A may suggest swine flu, as the normal flu season is nearly over. Take Care Health Providers will treat patients based on clinical symptoms and exposure risk and rapid flu testing does not usually change overall treatment plan.

“Take Care Clinics have seen patients inquiring about the swine flu, asking questions about symptoms and how to protect themselves and their family,” stated Sandra Ryan, chief nurse practitioner officer for Take Care Health Systems. “Nurse practitioners and physician assistants follow CDC recommendations to prescribe anti-viral medications based upon current symptoms, suspected or confirmed exposure to the swine flu, and/or an individual’s situation in regards to traveling to an area of a confirmed case.”

Take Care Health Systems is working collaboratively with its employer clients to assist in any potential pandemic planning and provide customized solutions to meet the company’s needs. In addition, Take Care Health Systems is coordinating with local health departments to track and monitor for potential swine flu cases.

Walgreens drug stores are prepared to meet increased demand for anti-viral medications including Tamiflu and Relenza. Stores are also well-stocked with the essentials for basic virus prevention including antibacterial hand soaps, hand sanitizer, antibacterial wipes, latex gloves, disinfectant cleaners and other supplies.

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