PHARMACY

CDC reports biggest increase in pediatric measles in 12 years

BY Alaric DeArment

ATLANTA Cases of a potentially fatal childhood disease have experienced the biggest increase in 12 years, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

A number of parents have opted against vaccinating their children against measles, often based on a false belief that the vaccine could cause autism. The CDC said about half of the cases this year have involved children whose parents refuse to vaccinate.

In the first seven months of this year, 131 cases have been diagnosed. By contrast, last year had a total of 42 cases.

Many of the cases are in children whose parents reject vaccinations on religious grounds and home-schooled children, who are not required to get the vaccination, as public school children are.

Symptoms of measles include rash, cough, high fever and runny nose. It can also lead to pneumonia and encephalitis.

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AstraZeneca adopts HealthHonors medication incentive program

BY Alaric DeArment

NORWELL, Mass. Patients will soon get reminders to take their medications as prescribed from AstraZeneca Pharmaceuticals.

HealthHonors announced Thursday that AstraZeneca had adopted its Dynamic Intermittent Reinforcement platform, a patient incentive program that uses intermittent reinforcement schedules to motivate patients to take their medications as prescribed.

Studies show that patients fail to take more than half of the 3.5 billion annual dispensed prescriptions as prescribed. This creates increased costs to the United States health-care system of more than $100 billion, as well as 125,000 deaths, accounting for 10 percent of all hospitalizations. A randomized study using HealthHonors’ program, however, found that patients who used it were 33 percent more likely to adhere to their prescription regimens.

“AstraZeneca is committed to finding innovative ways to help people lead healthier lives, and we believe the Dynamic Intermittent Reinforcement technology can help deliver on this goal,” said Mark Mallon, AstraZeneca’s vice president of marketing and sales operations.

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NACDS supports removal of e-pedigree legislation from bill

BY Alaric DeArment

WASHINGTON The National Association of Chain Drug Stores is calling legislation to mandate electronic drug pedigrees unnecessary and doubts the bill will make it beyond a House committee.

NACDS vice president of government affairs Paul Kelly said that the Safeguarding America’s Pharmaceuticals Act of 2008, sponsored by Indiana Republican Rep. Steve Buyer and Utah Democratic Rep. Jim Matheson, will not likely pass as a stand-alone bill. Efforts by Buyer and Matheson to attach the bill to the FDA Globalization Act have likewise not met success.

Rep. John Dingell, D-Mich., chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, supports the FDA Globalization Act, which requires electronic pedigrees for drug ingredients but not finished drugs, the FDA reported.

“We remain very pleased that Chairman Dingell has decided not to include an electronic pedigree requirement, and more importantly the track-and-trace requirement, in that bill,” Kelly said.

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