HEALTH

WSJ: CDC sets stage for a four-strain flu shot for the next flu season

BY Michael Johnsen

NEW YORK — The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention last week set the stage for the first quadrivalent influenza vaccine to be introduced in the 2013-2014 flu season, according to a report in The Wall Street Journal

Quadrivalent vaccines will contain two A strains and two B strains of flu. The triumvirate vaccines in use today contain two A strains and one B strain of flu. 

The Food and Drug Administration in December approved a new four-strain flu vaccine made by GlaxoSmithKline called Fluarix Quadrivalent. And FluMist Quadrivalent, from Astra Zeneca’s MedImmune division, was approved in February 2012. 

Sanofi has an application pending with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for a four-strain vaccine, The Wall Street Journal noted. However, that approval may not come in time for Sanofi to field a four-strain flu shot for the upcoming season, the report noted. 


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CHPA: Prescription-only PSE requirements would be burden to consumers

BY Michael Johnsen

WASHINGTON — The Consumer Healthcare Products Association on Friday released a statement regarding a poll released last week by the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America. 

"The 2013 survey confirmed what we have already been hearing in the states — that the large majority of cold, flu and allergy sufferers oppose legislation that would require them to obtain a doctor’s prescription before buying safe and effective medicines containing pseudoephedrine," stated Scott Melville, CHPA president and CEO.

Results of the survey found that 62% opposed OTC-to-Rx switches for drugs, with more than 18 million households in the United States depending on OTC drugs containing pseudoephedrine to relieve common symptoms. Lately, some states have sought to make PSE drugs Rx-only in an attempt to combat the manufacture of methamphetamine, for which the drug is a key ingredient.

A strong majority of respondents deal with allergy symptoms for more than two months per year and only 1-in-5 patients can get in to see their doctor the same day, with nearly one-quarter (22%) having to wait more than a week to get an appointment. 

When including drive time, waiting-room time and the visit itself, only 1-in-5 patients surveyed spend less than an hour when visiting the doctor, with nearly one-third (30%) requiring two or more hours per visit; 1-in-10 (9%) required three or more hours per visit. 

"In addition to the overwhelming majority of respondents who are concerned about the burdens associated with a prescription mandate, the survey found that many patients are already frustrated by having to wait multiple days to see their doctor, make costly co-payments and deal with a shortage of family doctors," Melville said. "Without question, these many burdens would be exacerbated by a prescription requirement. With these new findings in mind, CHPA will continue to work with AAFA to make sure lawmakers consider the needs of patients when crafting legislative solutions to the meth problem."  

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Vireo Systems releases study finding NSAID side-effects more likely among seniors 75+

BY Michael Johnsen

MADISON, Tenn. — Homeopathic analgesic manufacturer Vireo Systems on Thursday released a study finding that seniors over the age of 75 were six times more likely to suffer side effects associated with non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs. 

According to the study, nearly 33 million people, including 13.8 million seniors over the age of 65, regularly use NSAIDs for treating pain and inflammation. Gastrointestinal issues, renal problems and cardiac complications are the top-three most-cited side effects.

"As the next generation of healthcare delivery, including state health insurance exchanges and nonprofit health insurance co-ops, mobilizes toward a prevention-based model — and physicians consider the benefits of prescribing NSAID alternatives first — our study offers compelling support for cost-savings through greater pain management choices and a future free from NSAID side effects," stated Mark Faulkner, president of Vireo Systems. 

 

 

 

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