PHARMACY

CDC encourages diabetics to get H1N1 vaccines as part of American Diabetes Month

BY Michael Johnsen

ATLANTA In recognition that November is American Diabetes Month, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on Thursday reminded the public that diabetics have an increased risk of severe illness from any flu. And when people with diabetes get the flu, it can be more difficult for them to manage their blood sugar.

“People with diabetes account for about 12% of all of the hospitalizations we’ve seen from the H1N1 influenza virus,” said Anne Schuchat, director of the National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases at CDC. “If we focus in on adults, 19% of those people who have been hospitalized have diabetes. … One-in-4 hospitalized patients with diabetes did require intensive care unit management.”

Schuchat recommended that people with diabetes get vaccinated with H1N1 influenza vaccine as soon as they are able, and that they should receive the shot, not the nasal spray. “In this American Diabetes Month, we really remind people to take care of themselves with diabetes and get those two vaccines [H1N1 and seasonal flu], [and] to get care promptly to get antiviral medicines should they have symptoms.”

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PHARMACY

Sanofi Pasteur releases data on H1N1 vaccine

BY Michael Johnsen

SWIFTWATER, Pa. Sanofi Pasteur, the vaccines division of the Sanofi-Aventis Group, on Wednesday announced the final analyses of data from clinical trials of the U.S. licensed influenza A(H1N1) 2009 monovalent vaccine in adults and children.

The data confirm the immunogenicity and safety profile of the vaccine, with no serious vaccine-related adverse events reported during the 42 days of follow-up in the two trials.

“These are extremely important data,” stated Wayne Pisano, president and CEO of Sanofi Pasteur, “because they once again make clear not only the immunogenicity of the influenza A(H1N1) 2009 monovalent vaccine manufactured by Sanofi Pasteur, but also the fact that this vaccine has a safety profile similar to that typically observed with seasonal influenza vaccine in all age groups studied.”

The trials also confirm that one dose of influenza A(H1N1) 2009 monovalent vaccine induces a robust antibody response in adults — but two doses of vaccine are needed to assure a robust antibody response in children 9 years of age and younger. The two-dose regimen for these younger children is similar to the recommendations for seasonal influenza immunization in this age group.

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CVS Caremark, NCOA kick off Medicare Part D educational events

BY Allison Cerra

WOONSOCKET, R.I. CVS Caremark and the National Council on Aging announced on Thursday the kick-off of Medicare Part D educational events in an effort to urge older adults and their caregivers to review their Medicare Part D options to find the lowest cost plan to meet their needs.

“Plan review can seem cumbersome, but completing a plan comparison each year is an essential step toward saving,” stated Mitch Betses, VP retail pharmacy operations at CVS Caremark. “Tools like the Medicare Part D Calculator are designed to simplify the process to help older adults and their caregivers select a plan that provides them with the greatest value and peace of mind.”

A CVS/pharmacy analysis of more than 10,000 older Americans using the Medicare Part D Savings Calculator last year revealed plan participants could save an average of $612 in annual drug costs by just switching to their optimal Medicare Part D plan.

CVS/pharmacy is launching a campaign to assist seniors and their caregivers realize savings on 2010 prescription costs through education and assistance on plan comparison. Starting Thursday, CVS/pharmacy and the NCOA are offering Medicare Part D educational events throughout the annual enrollment period at senior centers nationwide. They are urging patients to consider the Three C’s when evaluating plans: Cost, Coverage and Convenience.

Customers can also go online at CVS.com/medicare to use the free Medicare Part D Savings Calculator. In addition, CVS pharmacists are available throughout the enrollment period to provide plan comparison in stores for those who would like assistance.

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