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Wireless pill bottle wins Boehringer Ingelheim-sponsored healthcare innovation contest

BY Alaric DeArment

NEW YORK — The makers of a pill bottle that uses wireless technology to keep patients adherent won the grand prize at a recent healthcare innovation contest.

AdhereTech developers Josh Stein, John Langhauser and Mike Morena will receive $50,000 in prize money as winners in the Healthcare Innovation World Cup, an international diabetes innovation challenge funded by Boehringer Ingelheim and organized by HITLAB.

The pill bottle measures the exact number of pills inside in real time and uses HIPAA-compliant wireless technology to send the data to the cloud, with patients receiving automated phone calls or text messages reminding them to take their medications.

"We are impressed with AdhereTech’s prototype and the feasibility of their business model, and believe the solution has merit in supporting medication adherence," Boehringer Ingelheim SVP PM business development and licensing strategy and contest judge Klaus Wilgenbus said. "All of the finalists demonstrated outstanding quality and ingenuity in developing their solutions."

 

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D.C. municipal buildings to display calorie information on vending machines

BY Alaric DeArment

WASHINGTON — The mayor of the nation’s capital announced Thursday plans to include calorie information on vending machines in municipal buildings.

Washington mayor Vincent Gray said the rollout of the Calories Count Vending Program would give workers and visitors the information they need to make wise lifestyle choices and would ultimately help reduce healthcare costs.

"This program is a great example of a public-private partnership that empowers consumers," Gray said.

The program, launched in municipal buildings in Chicago and San Antonio last year, receives support from the National Automatic Merchandising Association and will start appearing in Washington next month.

"America’s leading beverage companies are committed to being part of meaningful solutions to the public health challenge of obesity, and working with Mayor Gray to bring the Calories Count Vending Program to city employees is an important part of addressing that challenge," American Beverage Association president and CEO Susan Neely said.

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Doctors support Pa. bill to expand pharmacist-administered vaccinations

BY Alaric DeArment

HARRISBURG, Pa. — "Numerous" physicians in Pennsylvania are supporting a bill that would expand the range of immunizations that pharmacists can provide, a state pharmacy group said Thursday.

The Pennsylvania Pharmacists Association said doctors around the state were urging legislators to support House Bill 776 in letters to the House Professional Licensure Committee, urging that members support the bill and vote it out of committee soon. The bill would expand the immunizations pharmacists can provide to children older than 7 years.

"We believe collaboration among physicians and pharmacists is key to improving vaccination rates in Pennsylvania," one letter read. "Using pharmacists as immunizers is a convenient and easy way to boost rates for not only the flu vaccine, but to also make needed school vaccines more accessible."

The pharmacists association said expanding the types of vaccines that pharmacists can administer would provide greater access to them and higher vaccination rates. Many of the 2,500 pharmacists available are in medically underserved areas and areas with shortages of health providers, making them the most accessible and affordable provider available.

"Pennsylvania currently ranks 16th in the nation in terms of vaccinating our children against preventable illnesses and diseases — there is definitely room for improvement there," Pennsylvania Pharmacists Association president Robert Frankil said. "We are very pleased to be working with Pennsylvania physicians to support legislation that would enable us to make progress in this area and help keep our state healthy. We encourage legislators to support this piece of legislation."

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