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American College of Physicians and partners seek to improve immunization rates

BY Michael Johnsen

PHILADELPHIA — The American College of Physicians, CECity and Pfizer on Wednesday announced a new initiative designed to increase adult immunization rates. 

"As a national organization of internists, ACP’s internal medicine physician specialists and their practice teams play a critical role in increasing adult immunization rates," stated Robert Centor, chair of ACP’s Board of Regents, and a practicing internist. "Recommending and offering appropriate vaccinations is a core component of preventive health care, leading to improved public health, less suffering and fewer deaths from preventable illnesses, and lower healthcare costs."

The goal of this public health initiative is to meet the National Vaccine Advisory Committee’s standards for adult immunization. The standards call on all healthcare providers to assess vaccine status at each visit, strongly recommend vaccinations to patients, administer or refer for immunization and document vaccination. Current vaccination rates for recommended vaccines in the United States fall far short of those goals, with all rates well below 70%. 

"Pfizer is working to raise immunization rates to help protect against vaccine preventable diseases," said Freda Lewis-Hall, EVP and chief medical officer for Pfizer. "By bringing together tremendous expertise in health care, technology and quality improvement, this collaboration can make great strides to address the long-standing public health challenge of vaccinating American adults."

Research shows that a physician recommendation is the strongest predictor of vaccination, the coalition noted. Although the tracking and improvement of adult immunization rates has been encouraged through guidelines and multiple incentives programs, including the meaningful use of electronic health records, most physicians currently do not have the information they need to close the gap and increase the number of patients vaccinated.

A national advisory group co-chaired by Bernard Rosof, CEO of QHC Advisory Group and William Schaffner, immediate past-president of the National Foundation for Infectious Diseases, will oversee the program, which will incorporate documented strategies for increasing adult immunization rates and existing ACP resources.

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Food Lion unveils new chainwide strategy, logo

BY Antoinette Alexander

SALISBURY, N.C. — Food Lion has unveiled its new chainwide strategy: "Easy, Fresh and Affordable…You Can Count on Food Lion Every Day!" The announcement launches a multi-year initiative to make shopping easier for Food Lion customers at the company’s more than 1,100 stores, while keeping the low prices customers expect.



"Today, we are officially embarking on a new strategy to make shopping easier for our customers," stated Beth Newlands Campbell, president of Food Lion. "Our customers have told us that they want a grocery experience where it’s easy to shop, easy to save and easy to figure out what is for dinner tonight. Based on their feedback, and continuing to build on Food Lion’s longstanding heritage of low prices and convenient locations, we will work to own the easiest full shop experience in the Southeast, anchored by a strong commitment to freshness, affordability and the communities we serve."

Food Lion’s "Easy, Fresh and Affordable" strategy has already begun to roll out across the chain. By the end of June, the company will have completed the first step in implementing the strategy by focusing its more than 63,000 associates on putting the customer first and delivering on their expectations every day through new, customer-centric training, the company stated. 

The new strategy includes a variety of elements, large and small. One example of a small change that makes a big impact for customers is new blue bags, in addition to traditional white bags. The blue bags are used for cold and frozen items to make them easily identifiable and make unpacking groceries easy for customers at home, especially in warmer months.

An example of a big change is expanding product variety based on consumer research.

 Food Lion also will begin to roll out such transformational changes as storewide remodels. Food Lion’s newest store format, which is currently in Concord, N.C., will launch in 29 Wilmington, N.C., stores in third quarter 2014. These stores, which are currently being remodeled, will be redesigned to make the shopping experience easier for customers and will be among the first to display Food Lion’s new logo. 



Food Lion’s new logo launches today across the grocer’s 10-state footprint in television advertising, the company’s weekly ad flyer and website. Food Lion’s new logo provides a more modern look for customers, while preserving the history and heritage of the lion and the "Food Lion blue." 



"With our new logo, we have an opportunity to show our customers that we’re fresh, while remaining true to our legacy of low prices," added Newlands Campbell. "Beginning later this year, we’ll also bring our customers items in our stores that are consistent with the logo on the front, as we deliver new Food Lion store brand products that will help our customers save." 



 

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FDA issues guidance on using pharmacology data for biosimilar products

BY Michael Johnsen

ROCKVILLE, Md. — The Food and Drug Administration moved one step closer to establishing a biosimilar pathway with a new guidance document explaining how to use clinical pharmacology data to show similarity to a reference product, according to a report published by Regulatory Focus on Tuesday. 

"These studies provide the data that describe the degree of similarity in drug exposure between the proposed biosimilar and the reference product," the FDA noted in its guidance. "In addition, clinical pharmacology studies often include [pharmacodynamic] endpoints (both therapeutic and toxic) and pharmacometric analysis to assess whether or not there are clinically meaningful differences between the proposed biosimilar and the reference product."

According to the report, the latest guidance follows the publication of five other biosimilar draft guidance documents.

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