PHARMACY

Assistance programs team to promote ‘Healthy Monday,’ weekly effort to quit smoking

BY Michael Johnsen

NEW YORK If it takes an average of between seven and 10 times before an addicted smoker can successfully kick their smoking habit—why not make an attempt at quitting at the top of each week?

At least that’s the thinking behind the Healthy Monday initiative, a project sponsored by Columbia University Mailman School of Public Health, Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health and Syracuse University Newhouse School of Public Communications.

“We know there’s a high relapse rate for first-time quitters and that it takes a number of attempts for most people to stop smoking altogether,” said Frances Stillman, who co-directs the Institute for Global Tobacco Control at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. “Using each Monday to reaffirm their goal of quitting is a sensible way to stay on track.”

“We urge smokers to think about it realistically and use the start of each week to recommit to breaking their addiction,” added Sid Lerner, chairman of the Healthy Monday Campaign. “If you just try once a year on your birthday or New Years, those ‘tries’ can add up to a decade before you finally quit, but if you try every Monday, and keep at it, chances are good you may succeed within a single year.”

“We think of Monday as the January of the week,” said Healthy Monday president Peggy Neu. “Our research indicates that people view Monday as an opportunity for a fresh start and are more likely to start a healthy regimen on Monday than any other day.”

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Biosimilars could save significant amounts in healthcare costs, report concludes

BY Alaric DeArment

ARLINGTON, Va. A report by the Congressional Budget Office on the potential savings that biosimilars could create has drawn a response from the Generic Pharmaceutical Association.

“As Congress grapples with both the economic and healthcare crises facing our nation, the CBO Budget Options Report is concrete evidence that bringing safe, effective and affordable biogenerics to patients can result in significant healthcare cost savings for the federal government,” GPhA president and chief executive officer Kathleen Jaeger said in a statement.

“Specifically, the CBO Budget Options Report states that establishing a pathway for the approval of biogenerics will result in a multi-billion dollar savings potential for the federal government.”

Currently, the law does not permit the Food and Drug Administration to approve biosimilars, sometimes called biogenerics.

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FDA approves Genzyme drug to support bone marrow transplant recovery

BY Alaric DeArment

ROCKVILLE, Md. The Food and Drug Administration has approved a drug by Genzyme that helps increase the number of blood stem cells for bone marrow transplantation in patients with certain forms of blood cancer, according to an FDA statement Thursday.

Mozobil (plerixafor) is for use with the growth factor granulocyte-colony stimulating factor for treatment of adults with multiple myeloma or non-Hodgkin’s lymphomas.

Before receiving high-dose chemotherapy or radiation therapy, patients with these forms of cancer sometimes undergo a procedure known as apheresis, in which blood stem cells are collected and stored for infusion after therapy.

Patients receive G-CSF to help release and collect stem cells from the bone marrow. When used with G-CSF, Mozobil boosts the number of stem cells released from the bone marrow into the blood stream.

“Collecting the millions of cells needed for a bone marrow transplant can take hours or days,” director of the FDA Center for Drug Evaluation and Research’s Office of Oncology Drug Products Richard Pazdur said in a statement. “Mobozil provides a new therapeutic option for patients with certain types of blood cancers by increasing the number of stem cells collected in a given time period to be reinfused after therapy.”

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