PHARMACY

Bayer sponsors Prostate Cancer Awareness Month efforts

BY DSN STAFF

WHIPPANY, N.J. — Bayer HealthCare on Thursday announced that it will sponsor community awareness efforts nationwide this September, in honor of Prostate Cancer Awareness Month.

Bayer will expand its educational initiative, Men Who Speak Up, to inform the public about one of the leading causes of cancer death among American men.

"Bayer is committed to supporting prostate cancer awareness and advocacy activities because we know the devastating impact this disease can have on people's lives," Dr. Joseph Germino, Bayer's VP for medical affairs in oncology, said. "For men with advanced prostate cancer, our global survey revealed they aren't speaking up about the warning signs of progressing disease."

Bayer also revealed an updated website (LINK www.MenWhoSpeakUp.com) that features data from the International Prostate Cancer Symptoms Survey and provides educational materials, including a doctor discussion guide and a symptom tracker tool.

The company will sponsor events nationwide throughout September, including educational sessions, conferences, awareness walks and runs for patients and the community. Some of these events include:

  • Prostate Cancer Research Institute's Prostate Cancer Conference (Sept. 11 to 13), an annual patient event held in Los Angeles that provides a weekend of educational sessions on the latest treatment options, lifestyle changes and quality of life issues;
  • UsToo's 11th Annual SEA Blue Prostate Cancer Walk & Run (Sept. 13), education sessions and free PSA testing in Lincoln Park in downtown Chicago;
  • Prostate Health Education Network's Virtual Prostate Cancer Walk (runs through Sept. 18), an online effort to increase awareness about current pressing prostate cancer issues, including early detection, patient care, research and education; and
  • ZERO Prostate Cancer Run/Walks (occurring between Aug. 30 to Nov. 21), an annual run/walk series taking place in more than 40 cities across the country as part of the group's effort to make prostate cancer a national priority.

In late September, Bayer will analyze data from a survey of more than 1,200 people affected by advanced prostate cancer from across 10 countries. The results will be released at the 2015 European Cancer Congress in Vienna, Austria on Sept. 25.

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CVS Health study marks anniversary of ending tobacco sales

BY Lesley Thulin

WOONSOCKET, R.I. — A year after deciding to end tobacco sales, CVS Health on Thursday released new data from a CVS Health Research Institute study that shows a reduction in cigarette purchases over the past year.

The study tracked cigarette pack purchases at drug, food, big box, dollar, convenience and gas station retailers in the eight months after CVS/pharmacy stopped selling tobacco products, according to the company, and found a 1% reduction in cigarette pack sales in states where CVS/pharmacy had a 15% or greater share of the retail pharmacy market. Over the same eight-month period, the average smoker in these states purchased five fewer cigarette packs, and approximately 95 million fewer packs were sold.

“One year ago, we stopped selling tobacco products because it conflicted with our purpose of helping people on their path to better health,” Dr. Troyen Brennan, chief medical officer at CVS Health, said. “Today, we are excited to release new data demonstrating the positive impact our decision has had on public health overall as shown by a measurable decrease in the number of cigarette purchases across all retailers.”

The study also revealed a 4% increase in nicotine patch purchases in the states with a CVS/pharmacy market share of 15% of more.

Since CVS removed tobacco products from shelves, the average number of MinuteClinic “Start to Stop” smoking cessation visits per month nearly doubled, according to the company. CVS pharmacists counseled more than 260,000 patients about smoking cessation and filled nearly 600,000 nicotine replacement therapy prescriptions. The company also distributed millions of smoking cessation informational brochures and hundreds of thousands of “Last Pack” toolkits, and educated more than 1 million people via its Online Cessation Hub on CVS.com.

“We know that more than two-thirds of smokers want to quit — and that half of smokers try to quit each year,” Brennan said. “We also know that cigarette purchases are often spontaneous. And so we reasoned that removing a convenient location to buy cigarettes could decrease overall tobacco use. This new data demonstrates that CVS Health’s decision to stop selling tobacco did indeed have a real public health impact.”

CVS Health has also pledged more than $1 million in corporate grants to tobacco cessation and prevention programs such as Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids, Stand Up To Cancer and American Lung Association’s LungForce, and announced it will launch a school-based tobacco-prevention program with its foundation and Scholastic.

“Today, we are proud to mark our one-year anniversary by building on our commitment to be a meaningful part of the effort to make the next generation tobacco-free,” said Eileen Howard Boone, SVP of Corporate Social Responsibility and Philanthropy at CVS Health and president of the CVS Health Foundation. By partnering with an expert partner in education to launch this new program, we will reach millions of kids across the country with critical tobacco-prevention education.”

The program targets nearly three million children in grades three, four and five, with a second component offered in some pilot markets for students in grades six and seven for early 2016. The middle school component will also include a student engagement program, with the chance to receive incentives such as scholarships and youth-focused community training.

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McKesson public policy forum encourages pharmacists to get involved

BY Michael Johnsen

SAN DIEGO — California state Sen. Jeff Stone, a former independent pharmacist himself, had one message for independent pharmacists during the McKesson ideaShare 2015 Public Policy session in San Diego — don’t just vote, get involved.

(To view the full Chain Pharmacy Category Review, click here.)

“We need more pharmacist leaders,” he said. “As the most respected profession in the country, you have a leg up, and I’m going to encourage you, today, to get involved in your local politics,” Stone said. “Pharmacy is the most respected profession in the country. You have no idea the powerful message that this sends when you’re running for office. It gives you immediate credibility. We need to have ambassadors at all levels of government so that we can enhance and advance our profession.”

Having a voice in those legislative halls is becoming more and more important as government becomes a bigger payer of healthcare services, noted Joe Ganley, McKesson VP government affairs. “The reality is that for all of our businesses, government politics touches us, so we have to be involved,” Ganley said. “If we can elevate our public policy advocacy beyond our narrow business interests, and frame it in a system-wide ‘what’s good for the healthcare system, what’s good for patients kind of way,’ we’ll all benefit tremendously. Pharmacists are some of the most well-trained and under-utilized providers in the healthcare system, and we should be putting them to work on the front lines helping patients to get and stay healthy.”

Some of the key political battles facing independent operators today included provider status, vaccination requirements and creating a fair marketplace when it comes to pharmacy benefit managers.

Health Mart owners Alex Obeid and Jeff Sherr joined Ganley and Stone on stage for a roundtable discussion on how best to champion the role pharmacy plays in healthcare delivery in the halls of legislators.

As the healthcare paradigm evolves from a volume-based system to a value-based system, that role is significant. “We really have an opportunity here to expose to the world what it is that we bring to the table,” Obeid said. “This is a healthcare dynamic that’s not going to go away. We’re going to be excluded if we don’t speak out.”

“The business of pharmacy is a changing paradigm,” Sherr said. “As pharmacists we have a choice. We can either make dust or we can eat dust. Through this whole McKesson ideaShare 2015, the whole discussion has been about patient outcomes and talking about med sync and adherence. So much of that is the way that we can prove to people the value that pharmacists and pharmacy actually have.”

The Forum speakers encouraged ideaShare participants to get involved by getting to know their elected representatives, engaging in their pharmacy associations and learning about the key public policy issues that face community pharmacy practice today.  

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