PHARMACY

Alzheimer’s Foundation of America promotes free, year-round memory screenings

BY Allison Cerra

NEW YORK As part of its ongoing initiative to promote early detection of memory problems and successful aging, the Alzheimer’s Foundation of America recently introduced a new program that encourages local organizations across the country to offer free, confidential memory screenings and education about brain health throughout the year.

AFA eases the way for local groups to host screenings by providing sites with screening tools and educational and marketing materials; offering training and guidance on implementing the event; and publicizing the screenings on AFA’s Web site. Screening sites are listed at www.nationalmemoryscreening.org.

“Memory screenings need to become as much of a household word as blood pressure checks. By providing convenient and free access to these screenings, we hope people will be more proactive about their memory concerns. It’s critical to pave the way for early detection,” said Eric J. Hall, AFA’s president and CEO.

The new service, called “Community Memory Screenings,” builds on AFA’s annual National Memory Screening Day, which will be held this year on Nov. 17.

Emphasizing the role screenings can play in opening a dialogue, an AFA survey found that more than two-thirds of participants in National Memory Screening Day in 2007 had memory complaints, but only one in five had discussed them with their physicians despite recent visits.

As part of Community Memory Screenings, qualified healthcare professionals administer the non-invasive screening – a series of questions and tasks that takes about five to ten minutes – and provide educational materials. Screening results do not represent a diagnosis and individuals with below-normal scores are encouraged to pursue further medical evaluation. Some memory problems stem from reversible conditions, like vitamin deficiency or thyroid problems, while others result from irreversible conditions like Alzheimer’s disease.

Such community venues as local Alzheimer’s agencies, senior centers, long-term care facilities and retail pharmacies, have signed on. Among them, pharmacists at 42 Fred Meyer stores in Oregon and Washington are providing screenings every day by appointment.

“We thought this would be a great thing because we’re reaching people who might not otherwise get screened,” said Jennifer Davis, pharmacy clinical coordinator at Fred Meyer. “We wanted to raise the public’s consciousness, be available to our patients and be an easy source of information.”

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PHARMACY

Pfizer expands generics portfolio with Aurobindo, Claris deals

BY Alaric DeArment

NEW YORK A big pharmaceutical company has entered licensing agreements with two Indian generics companies, expanding its portfolio by 75 products.

Pfizer announced Wednesday that the agreements, with Aurobindo Pharma and Claris Lifesciences, would “significantly expand” the portfolio of medicines in its Established Products Business Unit, giving it products to market in North America, Europe, Australia, New Zealand and more than 70 emerging market countries.

“[Today’s] announcement demonstrates Pfizer’s commitment to improving the global public health landscape by making needed quality medicines – in a range of disease areas – accessible to underserved populations worldwide,” Pfizer chairman and CEO Jeff Kindler stated. “The off-patent marketplace worldwide too often suffers from quality and supply reliability issues.”

Under the terms of the agreements, Pfizer has acquired the rights to 55 pill drugs and five injected drugs from Aurobindo to sell in emerging markets, and 15 injected drugs from Claris to sell in developed markets.

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Lilly, Medtronic to deliver diabetes education

BY Alaric DeArment

INDIANAPOLIS A drug maker and a medical device maker have announced a collaboration to provide education on care and management of diabetes.

Eli Lilly & Co. and Medtronic said their marketing and sales operations would work with healthcare professionals to deliver diabetes education for patients and caregivers affected by Type 1 diabetes, including the development of educational resources and classes around the initiation and intensive management of insulin, insulin pump therapy and continuous glucose monitoring.

“Medtronic and Lilly are joining together to help improve patient access to high-quality diabetes education,” Medtronic SVP and diabetes business unit president Chris O’Connell said. “Because diabetes management is complicated, it is crucial that physicians and patients have the best access to information and educational resources.”

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