PHARMACY

CCA: New Texas legislation expands patient access to affordable care

BY Antoinette Alexander

HOUSTON A new Texas law, effective Sept. 1, will expand access to safe and affordable care at convenient care clinics throughout the state, the Convenient Care Association announced on Thursday.

The new legislation, SB 532, is supported by the CCA and the Texas Medical Association, and sponsored by state Sen. Dan Patrick, R-Houston, and Rep. Garnet Coleman, D-Houston.

SB 532 streamlines requirements for physicians who oversee the nurse practitioners and physician assistants working within the retail-based clinics. This, in turn, reduces clinic costs without compromising quality of care or integration with the medical community, CCA stated. This is particularly important in Texas, where 25% of the state’s residents are uninsured and 20% report having foregone medical care because of its high costs.

“This new law ensures that physicians will continue to monitor convenient care clinics in order to protect patient safety, ensure positive health outcomes, and make certain that patients with more serious illnesses are referred for appropriate follow-up care,” stated William H. Fleming III, M.D., president of the Texas Medical Association.

Added Tine Hansen-Turton, executive director of the CCA, “Convenient care clinics have treated millions of patients throughout the country and hundreds of thousands of patients in Texas over the last four years. The new law governing alternative practice sites helps ensure that these clinics will continue to provide easy access to affordable health care throughout the state.”

There currently are four CCA member companies operating retail-based clinics in the state:

  • MinuteClinic within select CVS/pharmacy stores
  • RediClinic within select HEB stores
  • Take Care Health Systems within select Walgreens stores
  • Christus Medical Group within select Walmart stores.

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FDA allows DoD to distribute swine flu test to soldiers

BY Alaric DeArment

ROCKVILLE, Md. The Food and Drug Administration will allow the Department of Defense to distribute a test for detecting the swine flu in soldiers serving overseas.

The FDA announced Tuesday that it had issued an emergency use authorization for the test, developed by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and called the CDC swH1N1 Influenza Real-Time RT-PCR. An EUA allows the use of unapproved medical products or unapproved uses of them during a declared public health emergency. The 2009 H1N1 influenza virus was declared a global pandemic this summer, making it the first influenza pandemic since 1968.

“The FDA worked quickly with the Defense Department to authorize the use of this test to better protect our troops,” FDA commissioner Margaret Hamburg said in a statement. “The test will aid in more rapid diagnosis of 2009 H1N1 influenza infections so that deployed troops can quickly begin appropriate medical treatment.”

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Study finds leukotriene modifiers work best for asthma sufferers

BY Alaric DeArment

WILMINGTON, Del. Asthma patients have an easier time controlling their disease with oral controllers than with a common type of inhaled drug, according to a new study.

In a peer-reviewed study requested by WellPoint, conducted by HealthCore and published in Mayo Clinic Proceedings, patients taking oral controllers called leukotriene modifiers had better clinical results than those taking inhaled corticosteroids.

“Clinical superiority of the inhaled products has been well-documented in clinical trials, and the HealthCore study confirmed this for those who take their medication properly,” HealthCore VP clinical affairs Joseph Singer said in a statement. “However, we were surprised to discover that in looking at all patients in real-world settings, oral controllers appeared to be a better choice of treatment because of better compliance.”

Common leukotriene modifier brands include Merck & Co.’s Singulair (montelukast sodium), AstraZeneca’s Accolate (zafilukast) and Cornerstone Therapeutics’ Zyflo (zileuton).

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