CDC: Tuberculosis rate drops more than 11%
ATLANTA The rate of reported tuberculosis cases in the United States has decreased more than 11% since 2008, making it the greatest single-year decrease since the disease surveillance commenced in 1953, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Tuberculosis is a disease caused by a bacterium called Mycobacterium tuberculosis that typically attacks the lungs, but can attack any part of the body including the kidneys, spine and brain. If not treated properly, TB can be fatal. The 11.4% drop may be attributed to changes in population demographics or improved TB control, CDC said in its report — Morbidity and Mortality Weekly — released two weeks ago. The disease was once the leading cause of death in the United States, CDC said.
The findings in the report are based, in part, on data contributed by state and local TB control officials.
MinuteClinic launches Monitoring Made Easy
WOONSOCKET, R.I. MinuteClinic officially announced the introduction of new health-condition monitoring services for patients with diabetes, high cholesterol, high blood pressure and asthma.
The new monitoring services, called Monitoring Made Easy, are available at MinuteClinic locations in CVS/pharmacy stores in 20 states and the District of Columbia. The services, performed by MinuteClinic nurse practitioners and physician assistants, are designed to support patients with ongoing health conditions in between visits to their primary care provider or to provide assistance to patients who may not receive regular care.
“By providing health-condition monitoring at MinuteClinic, our goal is to be a convenient and affordable resource where patients can not only receive an exam and regular lab tests, but also spend meaningful time with a practitioner to obtain advice and have questions about their condition and medication answered,” stated Andrew Sussman, M.D., president of MinuteClinic and SVP/associate chief medical officer of CVS Caremark.
How it works: MinuteClinic will send all health care monitoring results to a primary care provider with patient permission. Visit summaries are sent via electronic medical record or fax, typically within 24 hours. In addition, MinuteClinic practitioners will help patients locate a primary care provider in the community if they do not have one. A collaborating physician (medical director) is on call during MinuteClinic operating hours.
The monitoring services are available seven days a week, including weekday evening hours; no appointment is necessary.
When providing the services, practitioners review the patient’s medical history and perform an exam and tests based on nationally established clinical practice guidelines for standards of care, which may include an a1c test and foot exam for diabetes, breathing and oxygen level testing for asthma, a lipid profile for high cholesterol and a blood pressure check and microalbumin test for high blood pressure.
Most health insurance plans cover MinuteClinic health-condition monitoring services. Self-pay visits start at $62 and patients are informed of additional lab charges at the time of their visit.
A series of blood pressure, high cholesterol, diabetes and weight evaluation screening services also are provided to patients who have not been previously diagnosed with a condition but want to determine if they are at risk.
Teva’s patent for Seasonique upheld
JERUSALEM The U.S. District Court for the District of Nevada has granted Teva Pharmaceutical Industries’ motion for summary judgment concerning the validity of its patent on a birth-control pill, the drug maker announced Thursday.
Duramed, now Teva Women’s Health, brought a patent infringement case against Watson Pharmaceuticals in March 2008 when the latter sought to market its generic version of Seasonique (levonogestrel and ethinyl estradiol) ahead of the expiration of the patent covering the drug, U.S. Patent No. 7,320,969, which expires in January 2024.
“We are pleased with the court’s decision finding our patent to be valid and enforceable,” Teva North America president and CEO William Marth said in a statement. “Seasonique is an important part of our women’s health portfolio and offers women a safe and effective extended-regimen birth-control option.”
Separate patent litigation is pending in the U.S. District Court for the District of New Jersey over generic versions of Seasonique by Mylan, Famy Care and Lupin.